I've been drawn to the portraits of Annie Leibovitz since I was introduced to her work in college. At that stage I did not quite know what was the fascination and why I found her portraits so powerful. As I started to develop my own style and noticed what is important to me in a portrait, I realized it was the honesty that seems to emanate from her subjects.
"A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people."
By Annie Leibovitz
Early life and Rolling Stone
Anna-Lou "Annie" Leibovitz was born in the States on 2nd of October 1949. She was doing night classes in photography while studying painting at San Francisco Art Institute. She continued to develop her skill while holding on to several jobs until she started working for Rolling Stone Magazine in 1970 as staff photographer. Three year later the became chief photographer and continued to work with the magazine for 10 year and shot 142 covers.
Capturing a relationship
One of the first pictures I remember was the one of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The picture was taken on December 8, 1980 and was the last professional photograph taken before John was assassinated hours later. Leibovitz explains that when John stripped down and Yoko didn't want to take her pants off she suggested to keep everything on. John automatically curled up next to her and this powerful image was created.
"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."
By Annie Leibovitz
Vanity Fair and Vogue
Leibovitz joined Vanity Fair in 1983 and became known for her wildly lit, staged and provocative portraits of celebrities. Woopy Goldberg submerged in water and nude and pregnant Demi Moore being great examples. She created a comprehensive body of work, including actors, athletes, writers, musicians and politicians to make up a collective portrait of contemporary culture and intellectual life. Later she started to contribute for Vogue as well and in 1991 she mounted an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, making her the second living person and first woman to be exhibited by the institution. In addition to her magazine editorial work, Leibovitz has created several award-winning advertising campaigns, including the Got Milk camoaign and the Walt Disney, Year of a Million Dreams She's published many book and exhibitions of her photographs have appeared in museums and galleries all over the world. And to me one of her most powerful recent work is the 2016 Perelli 2016 where her interpretation created a beautiful, powerful collection of portraits of unique, independent woman of our time.
In a way Leibovitz can be seen as the photographer to the stars and her work can be very dramatic and highly styled but there is still a mix of intimacy and posturing. There is depth and humanity visible in each and every subject and that is the true art of a portrait. According to Leibovits we never get more than a tiny slice of our subject but that tiny slice transcends past the two-dimensional medium it's displayed upon and touches you mind and your heart.