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Biography of Annie Leibovitz | Celebrity Portrait Photographer

Updated on September 11, 2014

Annie Leibovitz - Famous Celebrity Portrait Photographer

Who is Annie Leibovitz?

American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz was born in 1949 on October 2nd. Her birthplace was Waterbury, Connecticut, a small town she grew up until 1970 when she took a job working as a photographer for Rolling Stone magazine. Thirteen years after being hired by Rolling Stone Leibovitz was recruited as a set photographer for the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair. In the 1980s, she started shooting advertisements for companies like The Gap. Since the 90's, Leibovitz has been publishing and exhibiting her work all over the globe. She is recognized as one of the most famous modern day portrait photographers.

Annie Leibovitz Posing for Her Gap Shoot in Japan

View More Amazing Work from Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz's Biography

Throughout her several decades working as a portrait photographer, Leibovitz created quite the collection of art. Publications including the work of Leibovitz include (but are not limited to):

  • Photographs
  • Photographs 1970–1990
  • "Dancers: Photographs by Annie Leibovitz"
  • "White Oak Dance Project: Photographs by Annie Leibovitz"
  • Olympic Portraits
  • Women
  • American Music
  • A Photographer's Life 1990–2005 (catalog for a traveling exhibit that debuted at the Brooklyn Museum in October 2006)
  • Annie Leibovitz: At Work
  • Pilgrimage
  • "Annie Leibovitz" (a MASSIVE book featuring over 250 photographs shot by Annie)

A History of the Work of Annie Leibovitz

Leibovitz was merely 23 years old when Rolling Stone magazine editor Jann Warren came across her portfolio and recruited her to become their lead staff photographer. It took only two years for the still young photographer to be promoted to the position of chief photographer at the magazine. In 1975, she had the opportunity to go on tour with the band The Rolling Stones in order to cover them more intimately. While working with Rolling Stone, Leibovitz started to develop what has become her trademark technique - utilizing bold primary colors and surprising poses to capture her subjects.

Three years after taking the iconic photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono for a Rolling Stone cover - the last photo before John Lennon was shot by a fan and died, Leibovitz left Rolling Stone magazine to start working with the fashion magazine Vanity Fair. It was while working with Vanity Fair that Leibovitz gained world-renown fame as a celebrity portrait photographer - capturing the infamous shot of Demi Moore, pregnant nude, which appeared on the cover of the magazine, shocking millions.

Leaving Vanity Fair to try out new ventures, Leibovitz started shooting advertisements during the 1980s. Her most famous advertisement shoot, a job for American Express, earned her the Clio Award in 1987.

When 1990 came around, Leibovitz left behind her career in advertising to follow more personal pursuits. She began publishing books showcasing some of her most acclaimed jobs, and started showing her work in galleries and museums all over the globe.

In 1991, Leibovitz’s collection of over 200 photographs were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. That same year, she published a book to accompany the show titled Photographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970-1990.

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Leibovitz's Disney Dream Portraits Shoot

More Work from Annie Leibovitz

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Annie Leibovitz's Most Recent Work

Leibovitz was asked to be in charge of the photography for the 1996 Olympics - a huge honor for any photographer.

A book titled 'Olympic Portraits'- which included to work of hundreds of some of the most highly acclaimed photographers to date - included two shots taken by Leibovitz - a portrait of athlete Carl Lewis, as well as a photographer of Michael Johnson.

In 1999, Leibovitz published the book Women - a portrait book of females from all walks of life - ranging from Supreme Court Justices to working prostitutes. This may be her most famous photography book, and by far the most talked about of all of her publications.

In 2005, Leibovitz was honored at the Brooklyn Museum of Art who presented a retrospective covering some of her best images.

That same year, Leibovitz gave birth to her twin daughters Susan and Samuelle. She is now the mother of three girls.

In 2007, Leibovitz was hired by the Walt Disney Company to do a series of photographs conveying famous celebrities as various characters from famous Walt Disney movie scenes for the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts "Year of a Million Dreams" campaign.

Annie Leibovitz at a conference in San Francisco honoring one of her many books

Fun Facts About Annie

Annie started her photography career at age 23 and is still working as a photographer today, over 40 years later.

Annie has five siblings. Her father worked as an Air Force lieutenant and her mother worked as a modern dance instructor.

Annie is one of the youngest females to hold the position of chief photographer for a major magazine publication.

Annie's trademark technique involves the use of bold colors, unique poses, and elaborate backdrops.

Annie made such a good impression on the band the Rolling Stones, that they took her on tour with them to photograph their journey.

Annie shot the last photo taken of John Lennon.

Annie is one of the most successful female photographers alive today.

Disney Scene Created and Photographed by Annie Liebovitz

© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal


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    • profile image

      Jailee 3 years ago

      What does Annie Leibovitz try to communicate through her photographs

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal 3 years ago from Bridgewater

      Ah! An Annie Leibovitz fan! She is remarkable, and so successful at such a young age. She is a true inspiration to me. Glad you enjoyed my hub! And yes, I have been bitten by the writing bug and can't shake it!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen, you are a writing machine of late. Every time I check my email it seems you have written something else. I'm sorry I can't keep up with all of your articles, but I'll try to do better. Nice job here about one of my favorite photographers.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal 3 years ago from Bridgewater

      She is truly amazing. I am a photographer myself, but it doesn't take an artist to be impressed by a 23 year old getting recruited by Rolling Stone Magazine!

    • Cherylann Mollan profile image

      Cherylann Mollan 3 years ago from India

      Great hub! I'd heard a bit about her due to the Yoko Ono - John Lennon and Demi Moore photographs, and now this hub has made me curious about her works. Thanks for giving me a new artist to read about. :)