In addition to her work for mass-market print media, Leibovitz has also accepted extensive commissions for corporate clients, including The Gap and American Express. She also produces for the art-photography market through periodic shows in galleries and museums, as well as through book publications of her work. Indeed, Leibovitz's work in multiple venues and media, as well as her collaboration with corporate sponsors, in characteristic of many contemporary artist-entrepreneurs.
Leibovitz's exhibitions have toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. In 1991, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. honored Leibovtiz with a retrospective that subsequently toured the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her awards include the American Society of Magazine Photographers (ASMP) Photographer of the Year Award (1984); the ASMP Innovation in Photography Award (1987); the Clio Award and the Campaign of the Decade Award from Advertising Age magazine (1987); and the Infinity Award for applied photography from the International Center for Photography (1990).
Her most famous photos include those of a nude John Lennon, hugging a clothed Yoko Ono, taken in the morning before his death, Demi Moore with a suit painted on her body, Whoopi Goldberg lying in a bathtub full of milk, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi with their faces painted blue and recently Queen Elizabeth II during her US visit in 2007. She was the last person to professionally photograph John Lennon alive (early on the day he was assassinated). However, the very last person to photograph Lennon, shortly before he was fatally shot, was amateur photographer Paul Goresh. She was the first female, chief photographer for Jann Wenner's "Rolling Stone Magazine," a post she held from 1973 to 1983. However, she was not first female to photograph a cover for the magazine. That distinction belongs to Linda McCartney with her blue solarized portrait of Eric Clapton captured for the cover of the May 11, 1968 issue.
She’s shot Ellen DeGeneres, the George W. Bush cabinet, Michael Moore, Madeleine Albright, and Bill Clinton. She’s shot Scarlett Johannson and Keira Knightley nude, with Tom Ford in a suit; Nicole Kidman in ball gown and spotlights; and, recently, the world’s long-awaited first glimpse of Suri Cruise, along with parents Tom and Katie. Her portraits have appeared in Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker, and in ad campaigns for American Express, the Gap, and the Milk Board.
Based in New York, Annie Leibovitz is best known for her portraits of political figures, musicians and athletes, all of which are featured regularly in magazines, fashion, and advertising. Many of Leibovitz's portraits of rock music celebrities have become signature images. A notable example is her portrait of the nude John Lennon on a bed with his fully clothed wife, Yoko Ono, the last portrait of Lennon before his death in 1980.
In 1970 Leibovitz approached Jann Wenner, founding editor of Rolling Stone, which he’d recently launched and was operating out of San Francisco. Impressed with her portfolio, Wenner gave Leibovitz her first assignment: shoot John Lennon. Leibovitz’s black-and-white portrait of the shaggy-looking Beatle graced the cover of the January 21, 1971 issue. Two years later she was named Rolling Stone chief photographer.
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.
Her first involvement with photography came in Japan when her father was stationed there with the U.S. military. After studying painting in college, Leibovitz' first break came when she was retained as chief photographer for a start-up West Coast publication called "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 magazine Vanity 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.
“This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.”
- Annie Liebovitz