Photography Ustaad: Annie Leibovitz

1 Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz- Conceptual Portraits

Quick Facts:

Full Name: Anna-Lou Leibovitz.

Birth Date: 2nd October 1949.

Education: San Francisco Art Institute.

Place of Birth: Waterbury Connecticut.

Best known for: the covers shot for Rolling Stones Magazine.

Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief Vogue) describes Anna Leibovitz as, “She is such a Stamp on a picture, I mean you could look at her work and there is no way anyone else took that picture.”

At a younger age Annie wanted to be an Art teacher, so she took the next step and enrolled herself at San Francisco Art Institute. She initially started with painting but gradually developed the love for Photography.

In 1970, at the age of 23, she applied for a job as a staff photographer at the start-up rock music magazine Rolling Stone. Impressed by her work, Editor Jann Wenner appointed her and within years she was promoted as the chief photographer. It was while working with Rolling Stone she developed her trademark use of Bold Primary Colors and Surprising Poses. She shot 142 Covers for Rolling Stone.

The White Stripes for Vanity Fair magazine, 2003.

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Blues Brothers on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

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Meryl Streep for Rolling Stone.

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In 1983 Annie joined the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair. The Covers she shot for Vanity Fair were as good as any Commercial Advertisement.

Her popularity soared and everybody wanted to work with her. Annie Leibovitz became the busiest photographer in the U.S.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone. This is the last living picture of legendary John Lennon. He was murdered once he stepped on the street after this photo-shoot.

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Whoopi Goldberg for Vanity Fair. Annie told Whoopi to get into the tub of milk; she wanted to show Whoopi emerging out of all white. Whoopi confesses to becoming a celebrity overnight because of this picture. Her only complaint was that cats followed her everywhere for a week after this photo-shoot.

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George Clooney for Vanity Fair.

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Lance Armstrong for Vanity Fair.

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In 1971, Annie Leibovitz’s picture of Dr. Arthur Janov was first published in Vogue’s September issue. She has shot 36 covers for Vogue till date. In early 2000 Annie started working with Grace Coddington, creative director of Vogue, to produce lavish storybook portfolios that became a popular part of Vogue.

An interesting Fashion Editorial she did For Vogue US was with model Natalia Vodianova in December 2003, based on the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

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Marie Antoinette (movie) featuring in Vogue September 2006 

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In 2007 Annie Leibovitz started working on the Disney Dream Portraits. It is a series of photographs for Walt Disney Park and Disney Dream line. The Campaign ‘Year of a Million Dreams’ features celebrities posing as Disney characters.

Fantasea with Julianne Moore as Ariel and Michael Phelps as a Merman.

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Where Wonderland is Your Destiny with Beyoncé Knowles as Alice, Oliver Platt as the Mad Hatter and Lyle Lovett as the March Hare.

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Where You Can Go On The Ride of Your Afterlife with Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and Jason Segel as The Hitchhiking Ghosts.

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 Where a World of Adventure Awaits with Taylor Swift as Rapunzel.

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“I am more interested in being good than being famous.” The photographer Annie Leibovitz has said. Today, she is good and also famous for shooting famous people. A documentary which summarizes the life of this wonderful Photographer was directed by Annie’s sister Barbara Leibovitz and aired in Jan 2007. The Documentary was called ‘Annie Leibovitz – Life through a Lens’.

Other Work:

  • First Woman to mount an Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery, also the first living Portraitist to do so.
  • American Express Charge Cards print campaign where she photographed celebrities.

Olympic Portraits 1996.


  • Musicians she worked with: Joan Armatrading, The White Stripes, Iggy Pop, Norah Jones, Pete Seeger.
  • Toured with the Rolling Stones (band) serving as the concert tour photographer for Rolling Stones tour of Americas ’75.

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