Annie Leibovitz is a celebrated American photographer best known for her engaging and dramatic celebrity portraits.
Adept at capturing her subject’s personality and inner life, her images reflect intimate or staged moments that reveal the playful and expressive aspects of her sitters, as seen in her Disney Dream Portraits (2011). “I no longer believe that there is such a thing as objectivity,” she once said. “Everyone has a point of view. Some people call it style, but what we’re really talking about is the guts of a photograph. When you trust your point of view, that’s when you start taking pictures.”
Born on October 2, 1949 in Waterbury, CT, the artist studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute with the intention of becoming an art teacher, and took night classes in photography. In 1970, she began working as a commercial photographer at Rolling Stone magazine, and soon became the first woman to be named chief photographer. She left the publication and began working at Vanity Fair where she developed her style of staged and brightly lit portraits, and today, still regularly contributes to the magazine, as well as to Vogue.
She has cited both Richard Avedon and Henri-Cartier Bresson as influences to her work, as well as taking photos during her family vacations as a child. Leibovitz is known for her celebrity portraits—famously captured the last image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono before his death in 1980. In 1991, she became the first woman ever to have a solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. In 2008, the photographer authored and published the book Annie Leibovitz at Work, which dissects in detail how some of her most iconic images came to be. The artist’s photographs are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. Leibovitz currently lives and works in New York, NY.