Annie Leibovitz

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Annie Leibovitz in front of Demi Moore's nude portrait, 2008

Annie Leibovitz [ ˈliːbəvɪts ], actually Anna-Lou Leibovitz , (born October 2, 1949 in Waterbury , Connecticut ) is an American photographer . She is one of the best-known and best-paid photographers in the world. Her elaborately staged photo portraits of many US celebrities from politics, business and culture made her world famous.


Annie Leibovitz was born the third of six children to a Jewish family. Her father Samuel Leibovitz (1914-2005) served as an officer ( lieutenant colonel ) in the US Air Force , and her mother Marilyn Edith Leibovitz, nee. Heit (1923–2007) worked as a dancer and dance teacher for modern dance . Because of her father's frequent transfers, it so happened that she took her first photos in the Philippines, where her father was stationed during the Vietnam War .

Leibovitz studied painting and photography at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1967 to become an art teacher. Her first recordings were reports with a 35 mm camera . Two volumes on documentary photography by Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson have left her mark. On a recommendation from her friend, she gave her photo portfolio to the art director of the music magazine Rolling Stone in 1970 . The editor, Jann Wenner, was so impressed that he immediately hired Leibovitz. After gaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1971, she worked for Rolling Stone from 1973 to 1981 as chief photographer.

Her special approach was to share everyday life with the respective musicians for two to three days in order to be able to make relaxed and confidential recordings. She wanted to become "part of the whole" and not attract attention during her recordings. The underground writer Hunter S. Thompson was one of her confidants, and they valued each other for their indomitable and unbridled approach to life.

In 1975 she accompanied the Rolling Stones on their concert tour as a photographer and became a drug addict. 1978, after the relocation of the Rolling Stone editors to the headquarters in New York in the Fifth Avenue the influential graphic designer and was artistic director Bea Feitler her mentor. Before each shot, she developed a concept, usually a simple picture idea, which she discussed with the person to be portrayed in advance. Feitler recommended Leibovitz to work for another magazine besides Rolling Stone . In 1981 she helped found the US magazine Vanity Fair . She successfully treated her cocaine addiction in a clinic . In 1983 she became the chief photographer for Vanity Fair and left Rolling Stone . In addition to staged portraits and nudes (including John Lennon , Bette Midler , Demi Moore , Whoopi Goldberg , Lyle Tuttle .) Leibovitz also increasingly worked in reportage and advertising.

Her best-known photographs include the pictures of John Lennon and Yoko Ono a few hours before Lennon's murder, as well as the nudes of actress Demi Moore during her pregnancy and with a body painting the following year. In 2005, publishers and art directors in the USA selected the 40 best cover pages, Leibovitz 'Lennon / Ono cover picture was 1 and her recording with the pregnant, naked Demi Moore took second place. Her campaigns for American Express (1987), Dove (2006) and the fashion company Gap (1988) received a lot of attention . In 1996 Leibovitz published a volume with portraits of athletes, and in 2000 and 2016 she took photos for the Pirelli calendar .

In 1988 Annie Leibovitz met the publicist Susan Sontag . The love affair with her lasted until Sunday's death in 2004. At the age of 51, Leibovitz gave birth to a daughter (* 2001) and declared that the father was a foreign sperm donor. In 2005 Annie Leibovitz had twins with the help of a surrogate mother.

In August 2009, it became known that she had amassed a heavy burden of debt. The firm Art Capital Group , which had granted her a loan of 24 million US dollars, they sued for breach of contract. Had it come to trial, and if she had been unsuccessful, she would have been threatened with auctioning off her entire art collection and real estate, including three historic townhouses in Greenwich Village . On September 8, 2009, she was able to negotiate a debt moratorium with Art Capital .



  • Annie Leibovitz: Life in Pictures. (OT: Annie Leibovitz - Life through a lens. ) Documentation, USA, 2005, 79 min., Director: Barbara Leibovitz, production: Thirteen, Wnet, AdirondackPictures, German first broadcast: arte , June 5, 2009, summary by arte
    Barbara Leibovitz is a documentary filmmaker and accompanied her older sister at work.


  • Ralf Georg Czapla : Leibovitz portrays Moore. How photographs become cult images. In: Filmforum. Magazine for film and other arts. Issue 19, September / October 1999, pp. 36–38


Web links

Commons : Annie Leibovitz  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rita Neubauer: "Annie Leibovitz Needs Money" , Tagesspiegel , February 27, 2009.
  2. ^ Johanna Adorján: "What remains: Annie Leibovitz 'new illustrated book" , Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung , October 22, 2006.
  3. Rachel Cooke, "How I shot my sister Annie ..." , The Observer , Feb. 3, 2008.
  4. a b c d In: Annie Leibovitz - Life through a lens , Documentation, USA, 2005.
  5. Biography: Annie Leibovitz ,
  6. Philip B. Meggs: “Bea Feitler. The Vitality of Risk, " American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), 1990.
  7. ^ Judith Fryer Davidov: Women's Camera Work: Self / body / other in American Visual Culture. Duke University Press 1998, ISBN 0-822-3206-73 , p. 379.
  8. Demi-Moore cover picture , Vanity Fair, 1992.
  9. "Magazine Cover. Creativity from its bare side ” , Spiegel Online , October 18, 2005.
  10. ↑ Radio interview with Annie Leibovitz ( memento of the original from January 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , On Point, October 17, 2006 (English). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. ^ A b Edward Guthmann: "Love, family, celebrity, grief - Leibovitz puts her life on display in photo memoir" , San Francisco Chronicle , November 1, 2006.
  12. ^ "A picture of bankruptcy" , Spiegel online, August 6, 2009.
  13. Allen Salkin: "Agreement Reached on a reprieve for Leibovitz Loan Repayment" , New York Times , September 11 of 2009.
  14. art Das Kunstmagazin from May 23, 2013: Prince of Asturias Prize for Leibovitz (dpa)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed on May 23, 2013.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /