Annie Leibovitz was said to be probably the "most successful photographer of her generation" by Life magazine in the 1990s.
From the photojournalist images she produced for Rolling Stone to the celebrity shots for Vanity Fair, Leibovitz photographed stars such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Rolling Stones in the sixties through to politicians and other famous figures such as Reagan and Thatcher in the eighties.
She was not just an artist but also an entrepreneur and corporate clients have included American Express and Gap.
Right: Leibovitz photographed by Robert Scoble
Leibovitz got her first camera on a trip to Japan as a student and signed up for a photography class on her return. While still an art student, she got her first assignement from Rolling Stone who used limited colour to print their images on newspaper-quality paper. Colour photography was relatively new but Leibovtiz saw the potential and she loved it. She said: "The future of photography is color. No one has played with it enough, especially in portraits. The brighter and more crass, the more I like it".
She not only embraced the latest in technology, but her shots had a candid quality to them, acquired through simply taking time to get to know her subjects to the point at which they relaxed completely. This made her work stand out and her photographs highly sought after.
Up until Leibovitz came along, celebrity shots like this were very staged affairs in order to make them look as glamorous and successful as possible. Leibovitz took away all the artifice and created portraits of real people, revealing their humanity, a humanity the public could identify with.
Offical White House Photograph
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Leibovitz and Susan Sontag had a relationship that was said to be romantic in nature and lasted over 10 years. After Sontag died in 2004, Newsweek published an article stating that "The two first met in the late '80s, when Leibovitz photographed her for a book jacket. They never lived together, though they each had an apartment within view of the other's."
Leibovitz collaborated with Susan Sontag on a book called Women which features portraits of women as coal miners, socialites, artists, victims, a surgeon, an astronaut and a maid. These pictures show a great range of work, more than 200 photographs altogether, of women from all walks of life.