Photographer Annie Leibovitz (American, b.1949) is best known for her engaging portraits—particularly of celebrities—which often feature subjects in intimate settings and poses. Leibovitz took painting classes at the San Francisco Art Institute as an undergraduate, but found herself deeply attracted to photography after taking pictures on a family vacation. She switched her studies to photography, and began working on commission for Rolling Stone while still in school in the early 1970s, when the magazine was in its first years of publication. At age 23, Leibovitz became the chief photographer of the magazine; over the next 10 years, she photographed figures such as Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and a particularly famous photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, just hours before Lennon was killed in 1980.
In 1983, Leibovitz became a photographer for Vanity Fair, and encouraged many other celebrity subjects to choose poses revealing the intimate, playful, and expressive aspects of their personalities; portraits included celebrities in the nude, in stunning gowns, covered in paint, and in tanks of water or baths of milk, often with dramatic lighting.
Her photographs have been published in several books, and have been used in many ad campaigns. Her work was the subject of a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.; she was the first woman to receive a solo exhibition at the museum. Leibovitz currently lives and works in New York.
Steve Martin, Beverly Hills, California, 1981. Archival pigment print, 101.6 x 101.6 cm.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, The Dakota, NY, December 8, 1980, 1996. Off-set lithograph on card stock, 11.2 x 15 cm
Images and text: http://www.artnet.com/artists/annie-leibovitz/