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Annie Leibovitz Biography



Photographer (1949–)
Annie Leibovitz, considered one of America’s best portrait photographers, developed her trademark use of bold colors and poses while at Rolling Stone.


Photographer Annie Leibovitz was born October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. In 1970 she took a job at Rolling Stone magazine. In 1983 she began working for the entertainment magazineVanity Fair. During the late 1980s, Leibovitz started to work on a number of high-profile advertising campaigns. From the 1990s to the present, she has been publishing and exhibiting her work.

Rolling Stone Magazine

Photographer. Born Anna-Lou Leibovitz, on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. She was one of the six children born to Sam, an Air Force lieutenant, and Marilyn Leibovitz, a modern dance instructor. In 1967, Leibovitz enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute, where (although initially studying painting) she developed a love for photography.

After living briefly on an Israeli kibbutz, Leibovitz returned to the U.S., in 1970, and applied for a job with the start-up rock music magazine Rolling Stone. Impressed with Leibovitz’s portfolio, editor Jann Wenner offered her a job as a staff photographer. Within two years, the 23-year-old Leibovitz was promoted to chief photographer – a title she would hold for the next 10 years. Her position with the magazine afforded her the opportunity to accompany the Rolling Stones band on their 1975 international tour.

While with Rolling Stone, Leibovitz developed her trademark technique, which involved the use of bold primary colors and surprising poses. Wenner has credited her with making many Rolling Stone covers collector’s items, most notably an issue that featured a nude John Lennon curled around his fully clothed wife, Yoko Ono. Taken on December 8, 1980, Leibovitz’s photo of the former Beatle was shot just hours before his death.

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Vanity Fair

In 1983, Leibovitz left Rolling Stone and began working for the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair. With a wider array of subjects, Leibovitz’s photographs for Vanity Fair ranged from presidents to literary icons to teen heartthrobs. To date, a number of Vanity Fair covers have featured Leibovitz’s stunning – and often controversial – portraits of celebrities. Demi Moore (very pregnant and very nude) and Whoopi Goldberg (half-submerged in a bathtub of milk) are among the most remembered actresses to grace the cover in recent years. Known for her ability to make her sitters become physically involved in her work, one of Leibovitz’s most famous portraits is of the late artist Keith Haring, who painted himself like one of his canvases for the photo.

More Accomplishments

During the late 1980s, Leibovitz started to work on a number of high-profile advertising campaigns. The most notable was the American Express “Membership” campaign, for which her portraits of celebrity cardholders, like Elmore Leonard, Tom Selleck, and Luciano Pavarotti, earned her a 1987 Clio Award.

In 1991, Leibovitz’s collection of over 200 color and black-and-white photographs were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Later that year, a book was published to accompany the show titledPhotographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970-1990. In 1996, Leibovitz was chosen as the official photographer of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. A compilation of her black-and-white portraits of American athletes, including Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, were published in the book Olympic Portraits (1991).

Later Work

Widely considered one of America’s best portrait photographers, Annie Leibovitz published the book Women (1999), which was accompanied by an essay by friend and novelist Susan Sontag. With its title subject matter, Leibovitz presented an array of female images from Supreme Court Justices to Vegas showgirls to coal miners and farmers. Currently, many of her original prints are housed in various galleries throughout the United States.

In 2005, the Brooklyn Museum of Art did a retrospective on her work entitled “Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005.” As busy as ever, Annie Leibovitz continues to be in demand as portrait photographer, often capturing arresting images of today’s celebrities.

Annie Leibovitz is the mother of three children. At the age of 51, she had her daughter, Sarah. In 2005, her twin daughters, Susan and Samuelle, were born with the help of a surrogate mother.

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a breathtaking aerial vidw of the Chicago skyline as reflected on Lake Michagan-click for bigger view

a breathtaking aerial vidw of the Chicago skyline as reflected on Lake Michagan-click for bigger view


A Breathtaking Aerial View of the Chicago Skyline as Reflected on Lake Michigan sunset clouds cityscapes Chicago

While on approach to Chicago O’Hare International Airport last week after a business trip, amateur photographer Mark Hersch glanced out his window at the setting sun and decided to pull out his iPhone to take a photo. Right then the plane banked for a 180-degree left turn over Lake Michigan for a final westward approach when an unexpected play of light occurred: the entire skyline of Chicago was suddenly projected in shadow from underneath the cover of clouds. It’s safe to say this is textbook definition of a once-in-a-lifetime shot. Photo courtesy Mark Hersch. (via Twisted Sifter)

Inside the counter-culture: An intimate look at Warhol, Ginsberg and friends through the radical lens of legendary photographer Richard Avedon


Inside the counter-culture: An intimate look at Warhol, Ginsberg and friends through the radical lens of legendary photographer Richard Avedon

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:          00:59 EST, 18 May 2012       | UPDATED:          01:37 EST, 18 May 2012      

Richard Avedon was one of the most well-known fashion and portrait photographers in American history. However, many of his photographs had a distinctly political flavor.

His work photographing hippies, artists and icons of the beat generation was said to capture their very essence and offer an inside look at the counter-culture in a way that few portrait shooters have been able to match.

A collection of his radical portraits are on display at Gagosian Gallery in New York City this summer.

Louis Ginsberg and his son Allen Ginsberg

The counter-culture: Allen Ginsberg, the beatnik poet, was a frequent subject. This work is titled: Louis Ginsberg and his son Allen Ginsberg, poets, Paterson, New Jersey, May 3, 1970


Allen Ginsberg's family

Allen Ginsberg’s family: Hannah (Honey) Litzky, aunt; Leo Litzky, uncle; Abe Ginsberg, uncle; Anna Ginsberg, aunt; Louis Ginsberg, father; Eugene Brooks, brother; Allen Ginsberg, poet; Anne Brooks, niece; Peter Brooks, nephew; Connie Brooks, sister-in-law; Lyle Brooks, nephew; Eugene Brooks; Neal Brooks, nephew; Edith Ginsberg, stepmother; Louis Ginsberg, Paterson, New Jersey, May 3, 1970

Avedon was known for shooting stark, minimalist portraits of his subjects that let their own personalities shine through.

‘A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks,’ he said, according to the Atlantic.



The beatnik-generation luminary Allen Ginsberg was one of Avedon’s famous subjects. He photographed the poet in 1968 as he embraced and kissed his longtime lover, Peter Orlovsky.

He photographed the Chicago Seven, the protestors who were charged with inspiring a riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol and members of The Factory: Gerard Malanga, poet; Viva, actress; Paul Morrissey, director; Taylor Mead, actor; Brigid Polk, actress; Joe Dallesandro, actor; Andy Warhol, artist, New York, October 9, 1969


Andy Warhol, artist, New York, August 14, 1969

Andy Warhol, artist, New York, August 14, 1969

Andy Warhol was another subject whom Avedon exposed to his camera lens. He captured the scars on his chest left by a 1968 murder attempt.

Not all of Avedon’s subjects were trend-setters outside the mainstream.

He convinced Rose Mary Woods, President Richard Nixon’s secretary, to stand for a portrait. 

The Mission Council, which helped dictate the US involvement in the Vietnam War, also stood for a photograph. 

Avedon died of a brain hemorrhage in 2004 while on assignment for The New Yorker.

The exhibit, titled Richard Avedon Murals & Portraits, is on  display at Gagosian Gallery, West 21st Street in New York City, through July 6.

The Mission Council

The Mission Council: Hawthorne Q. Mills, Mission Coordinator; Ernest J. Colantonio, Counselor of Embassy for Administrative Affairs; Edward J. Nickel, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs; John E. McGowan, Minister Counselor for Press Affairs; George D. Jacobson, Assistant Chief of Staff, Civil Operations and Rural Development Support; General Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam; Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker; Deputy Ambassador Samuel D. Berger; John R. Mossler, Minister and Director, United States Agency for International Development; Charles A. Cooper, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs; and Laurin B. Askew, Counselor of Embassy for Political Affairs, Saigon, South Vietnam, April 28, 1971



Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, poets, New York, December 30, 1963

Lovers: Avedon captured this intimate moment between Ginsberg and his longtime lover. The portrait is titled: Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, poets, New York, December 30, 1963


Florynce Kennedy, civil rights lawyer, New York, August 1, 1969

Florynce Kennedy, civil rights lawyer, New York, August 1, 1969


Dao Dua, "The Coconut Monk," Mekong Monastery, Phoenix Island, South Vietnam, April 14, 1971

Dao Dua, “The Coconut Monk,” Mekong Monastery, Phoenix Island, South Vietnam, April 14, 1971


Rose Mary Woods, secretary to President Richard Nixon, Washington, D.C., August 10, 1975

Rose Mary Woods, secretary to President Richard Nixon, Washington, D.C., August 10, 1975

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2146182/Richard-Avedon-exhibition-offers-intimate-look-counter-culture.html#ixzz2sYrUEWSC Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook



The Fascinating Last Photographs of Famous People

By Alison Nastasi on Jan 23, 2013 6:00pm

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This week marks the 32nd anniversary of Rolling Stone’s famous cover featuring a portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. It was the last professional photo captured of the iconic musician, who was killed hours later outside his apartment in New York City. We’re discounting the chilling image fan Paul Goresh took of Lennon and Chapman that fateful morning.

“What is interesting is she said she’d take her top off and I said, ‘Leave everything on’ — not really preconceiving the picture at all,” Leibovitztold the magazine. “Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn’t help but feel that he was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I think it was amazing to look at the first Polaroid and they were both very excited. John said, ‘You’ve captured our relationship exactly. Promise me it’ll be on the cover.’ I looked him in the eye and we shook on it.”

Leibovitz had only planned to photograph Lennon, but the image of the couple turned out to be one of her most famous portraits and would define one of the most talked about relationships in pop culture history. We scouted for other fascinating photographs that perhaps offer some insight into the final days of famous people. See more photos after the jump.

Photo credit: Jesse Frohman

Kurt Cobain

Jesse Frohmantook these photos of Kurt Cobain close to his 1994 suicide, and they were exhibited last year in commemoration of the 18th anniversary of his passing.The Observer commissioned the images. Dressed in Jackie O sunglasses and a leopard coat, Cobain is seen clinging to his cigarette and a bottle (of something) with peeling nail polish. He looks worn, but every bit the iconoclast his fans remember. See other photos in the series over here.

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Photo Essay: Desolate Detroit- The Forsaken City

A Coat of Paint

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A Crumbling Legacy'Save The Depot'A Filmmaker's DreamAbandoned But Not UnwantedA Coat of PaintRaze the Roof Beam, CarpenterGhost TownBoom to Bust . . .  to Boom?Scribe TribeBricks as CanvasReligious RoadDoors for WindowsFrom Respectability to Ruin


Near Central Station, two of Detroit’s roughly 33,000 vacant and abandoned homes.

EDITOR’S NOTE | Jan. 24. 2011: Currently a public art installation after fire nearly destroyed the building on the left, local nonprofit Imagination Staion plans to use the buildings as part of a future campus. You can read more about the project at facethestation.com.



MIKE BRODIE’s Hobo Youth

December 16, 2011 by 

Born in 1985, Mike Brodie began photographing when he was given a Polaroid camera in 2004. Working under the moniker ‘The Polaroid Kidd,’ Brodie spent the next four years circumambulating the United States, amassing an archive of photographs that make up one of the few, true collections of American travel photography. Brodie made work in the tradition of photographers like Robert FrankWilliam Eggleston and Stephen Shore, but due to never having undergone any formal training he always remained untethered to the pressures and expectations of  the art market.

Brodie compulsively documented his exploration of the tumultuous world of transient subcultures without regard to how the photographs would exist beyond him. After feeling as though he documented all that he could of his subject, his insatiable wanderlust found a new passion, and as quickly as he began making photographs, he has left the medium to continue in his constant pursuit of new adventures.