With a huge collection of renowned American photographer Annie Leibovitz’s images having arrived in Singapore last month, Gwen Pew looks back at her life and career.
8 May 2014: Annie Leibovitz is without a doubt one of the biggest and most sought-after names in the world of photography today, and anyone who’s anyone has likely been shot by her at some point. Whether or not we’ve been aware of it, we’ve all likely seen a Leibovitz picture: from iconic portraits such as Yoko Ono and a naked John Lennon curled up next to her (taken hours before he was shot) to a barebodied and heavily pregnant Demi Moore, or more recently, her series of A list celebs dressed up as various Disney characters (such as Taylor Swift as Rapunzel and Jessica Biel as Pocahontas) to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on the much talked about cover of last month’s Vogue.
Now 64, Leibovitz has had a glittering career that began in 1970 with Rolling Stone magazine, which was just starting out at the time. She became their chief photographer three years later, and held that post for the next decade before working for Vanity Fair, Vogue and other esteemed titles. Known for having a sharp eye for aesthetics and for being an uncompromising artist who doesn’t stop until she gets the image she’s after, Leibovitz has earned a string of awards and honours in recognition of her efforts.
Since last month, a collection of nearly 200 Leibovitz photos taken between 1990 and 2005 has been on display at the ArtScience Museum. Entitled A Photographer’s Life, the exhibition was originally shown at Brooklyn Museum in New York and features a mix of images she took as part of her assignments, as well as more private ones from her personal life. While there’s no shortage of celebrity images (such as the cover image of a young Leonardo DiCaprio with a swan draped around his neck), the more poignant images are perhaps the blackand- white ones showing the laughter and tears Leibovitz shared with her friends and family, including her three daughters and renowned essayist and writer Susan Sontag, with whom she had a romantic relationship until Sontag passed away in 2009. Here we present a selection of her more personal pictures on display.