Annie Leibovitz grew up moving constantly, the child of a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force. She was born in Connecticut, started playing music during high school in Maryland, took her first photos in The Phillippines and eventually studied art at The San Francisco Art Institute.
In 1970 she was hired as a staff photographer for the start-up magazine Rolling Stone. In 1973 she was named Chief Photographer and stayed in that role for a decade. She photographed the 1975 Rolling Stones tour, countless iconic covers, and took the last photograph of John Lennon hours before his death. It proved iconic... John Lennon naked and wrapped around Yoko Ono on the floor. It appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Her style ultimately defined the look and feel of the magazine. She created an atmosphere where her subjects would open up their hearts and emote, putting people into unusual poses and interesting settings.
In 1983 she left Rolling Stone to work for Vanity Fair. There her world opened up to a whole new world of possibilities, photographing heads of state, movie stars, literary icons and celebrities. You may not know her, but you know her photographs.
In 1991 over 200 of her most famous photographs were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. She was the first woman to hold that honor. She was designated a living legend by the Library of Congress. In 1999, she published a book called Women featuring the various roles women play in society and celebrating them. She features Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jodie Foster along with coalminers and farmers. Her long time romantic partner and well known intellectual Susan Sontag added a beautiful essay in the book. In October she'll release Annie Liebovitz Portraits 2005-2016, third in a series. You can pre-order it here
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