When I think of a woman that has influenced my photography I turn to Portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz. Born in 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Annie Leibovitz was moved around the country with her family because her father had re-enlisted in the military. She was two, and for the next continuing decade she was constantly moving and changing locations and finally settled not to far from M. I. C. A. in Silver Springs, Maryland where she attended high school. After graduation she enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute intent on studying painting.
It was not until she traveled to Japan with her mother the summer after her sophomore year that she discovered her interest in taking photographs. When she returned to San Francisco that fall, she began taking night classes in photography. Time spent on a kibbutz in Israel allowed her to polish her skills further and allowed her to create a series of photographs on the subject of “The Family”. In 1970 Leibovitz approached Jann Wenner, founding editor of Rolling Stone, which he’d recently launched and was operating out of San Francisco.
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Impressed with her portfolio, Wenner gave Leibovitz her first assignment: shoot John Lennon. Leibovitz’s black-and-white portrait of the Beatle and that photograph appeared on the cover of the January 21, 1971 issue. In 1972 Rolling Stone sends her on tour with The Rolling Stones to take Photographs for an article by Truman Capote, and in 1973 when she was just twenty-four years old was named Rolling Stone chief photographer. Leibovitz also served as the official photographer for the Rolling Stones’ 1975 world tour.
While on the road with the band she produced her iconic black-and-white portraits of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, dancing, rocking out and singing on stage. Leibovitz said in her book, American Music “It seemed to me that a concert was the least interesting place to photograph a musician. I was interested in how things got done. I liked rehearsals, back rooms, and hotel rooms, almost any place other than the stage. And even if I was a fan of someone’s music, the photograph came first.
It was always about taking the picture. When I was on the road with the Rolling Stones in 1975, I Learned how music was made. I had an idea at that point about how musician’s lived, but not how the music was made. ” In 1981 Rolling Stone sent Leibovitz to photograph John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who had recently released their album “Double Fantasy”. For the portrait Leibovitz imagined that the two would pose together nude. Lennon disrobed, but Ono refused to take off her pants.
Leibovitz “was kind of disappointed,” according to Rolling Stone, and so she told Ono to leave her clothes on. “We took one Polaroid,” said Leibovitz in her book Dancers “John looked at the Polaroid and said. ” That’s us. That’s our relationship. ” “That was a very touching moment for me. ” Resulting in a portrait shows Lennon nude and curled around a fully clothed Ono. Several hours later, Lennon was shot dead in front of his apartment. The photograph ran on the cover of the Rolling Stone Lennon commemorative issue.
In 2005 the American Society of Magazine Editors named it the best magazine cover from the past 40 years. ANNIE LEIBOVITZ: PHOTOGRAPHS, the photographer’s first book, was published in 1983. The same year Leibovitz joined Vanity Fair and was made the magazine’s first contributing photographer. At Vanity Fair she became known for her beautifully lit, staged, and seductive portraits of celebrities. Most famous among them are Whoopi Goldberg submerged in a bath of milk and Demi Moore naked and holding her pregnant belly. The cover showing Moore — which then-editor Tina Brown initially balked at running — was named second best cover from the past 40 years. ) Since then Leibovitz has photographed celebrities ranging from Brad Pitt to Mikhail Baryshnikov. She’s shot Ellen DeGeneres, the George W. Bush cabinet, Michael Moore, Madeleine Albright, and Bill Clinton. She’s shot Scarlett Johannson and Keira Knightley nude, with Tom Ford in a suit; Nicole Kidman in ball gown and spotlights; and, recently, the world’s long-awaited first glimpse of Suri Cruise, along with parents Tom and Katie.
Her portraits have appeared in Vogue, The New York Magazine, and The New Yorker, and in ad campaigns for American Express, the Gap, and the Milk Board. Among other honors, Leibovitz has been made a Commandeur des Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government and has been designated a living legend by the Library of Congress. Her first museum show, PHOTOGRAPHS: ANNIE LEIBOVITZ 1970-1990, took place in 1991 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D. C. and toured internationally for six years.
At the time she was only the second living portraitist — and the only woman — to be featured in an exhibition by the institution. Leibovitz’s most recent book, A PHOTOGRAPHER’S LIFE: 1990-2005 includes her trademark celebrity portraits. But it also features personal photographs from Leibovitz’s life: her parents, siblings, children, nieces and nephews, and lover Susan Sontag. Leibovitz, who has called the collection “a memoir in photographs,” was spurred to assemble it by the deaths of Susan Sontag and her father, only weeks apart.
The book was a definite way of helping grieve. The book even includes photos of Leibovitz herself, like the one that shows her nude and eight months pregnant, like the Demi Moore photograph she took. That picture was taken in 2001, shortly before Leibovitz gave birth to daughter Sarah. Daughters Susan and Samuelle, named in honor of Susan and Leibovitz’s father, were born to a surrogate in 2005. Leibovitz composed these personal photographs with materials that she used when she was first starting out in the ’70s: a 35-millimeter camera, black-and-white Tri X film. I don’t have two lives,” she writes in the book’s introduction. “This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it. ” Her vision of just photographing life how it should be. In the book DANCERS, She was asked once if the person she was photographing influenced the way her work or related to the subject and she answered “The fame isn’t important to me as what the people are about, what their minds are like, and what hey do with their talent. Certain people have a special relationship to the camera that cannot be underestimated.
It’s because of who they are within themselves. ” Works Cited Leibovitz, Annie. Dancers. 1992. New York. Photograghers At Work. By Constance Sullivan. Smithsonian Series. New York: Smithsonian P, 1992. Leibovitz, Annie. Photographs. 1st ed. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. 6-231. Leibovitz, Annie. Stardust. 2000. Louisana Museum of Modern Art. Star Dust Annie Leibovitz 1970-1999. Louisana Museum of Modern Art. Lousiana: International Center of Photography, 2000. Liebovitz, Annie. AMERICAN MUSIC. 1st ed. Toronto: Random House, 2003. 5-262.