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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Annie Leibovitz

Born: Anna-Lou Leibovitz 
Dates:  1949, 2 October -
Born:  US, CT, Waterbury
Active:  US
One of the most influential of American fashion and portrait color photographers. Widely published in magazines, especially Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair to which she moved in 1982.

Preparing biographies

Biography provided by Focal Press 
Born in Connecticut, educated at the San Francisco Art Institute (BFA, 1971), Leibovitz ascended to the very apex of contemporary portrait photography at the beginning of the 21st century. Her most respected work is of celebrity and literati personalities often seen in spectacular display in the pages of Vanity Fair as cover shots or lavish fold-out group portraits and portfolios. She is also the artist of many notable photo-essays and advertising campaigns, especially the celebrity icons photographed for the American Express media ads (1987). Her first involvement with photography came in Japan when her father was stationed there with the U.S. military. After studying painting in college, Leibovitz’ first break came when she was retained as chief photographer for a start-up West Coast publication called Rolling Stone (1973). Perhaps her most memorable image is the nude John Lennon with the clothed Yoko Ono — an image made the same day Lennon was murdered in New York City (1980). By 1983, Leibovitz was hired by Condé Nast to be the primary talent to photograph for Vanity Fair. Most of Leibovitz’ work (color and black and white) exhibits her talent for incorporating environment, props, or an idiosyncratic gesture to resonate with her subjects’ persona or "public trademark." Leibovitz’ extraordinary range of subjects has spanned from portraits of athletes at Atlanta’s Olympic Games to a more recent book collaboration with Susan Sontag, Women (1999). 
(Author: Ken White - Rochester Institute of Technology) 
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 

Further research

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If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful.
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Visual indexes

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Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Annie Leibovitz.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Bauret, Gabriel (ed. and text) 2001 Color Photography (New York: Assouline) [Includes example color photographs by Annie Leibovitz] 
• Lahs-Gonzales, Olivia & Lippard, Lucy 1997 Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century. Selections from the Helen Kornblum Collection (Saint Louis Art Museum, D.A.P.) [Annie Leibovitz is included in this overview of women photographers.] 
• Nature Conservancy 2001 In Response to Place: Photographs from the Nature Conservancy’s Last Great Places (Boston: Bulfinch Press - Little Brown and Company) [Location: Annie Leibovitz covered for this book: Shawangunk Mountains, New York] 


The wit and wisdom.

"I‘m pretty used to people not liking having their picture taken. I mean, if you do like to have your picture taken, I worry about you."
"When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I‘d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph."
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