What They Were Doing Then: Annie Leibovitz

When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.

Annie Leibovitz is without a doubt one of the most iconic portrait photographers of the past 50 years. With an incredibly intimate, yet mildly bizarre, personal style of photographing, Leibovitz’s work manages to uniquely capture her subjects in a space where you feel as if they have “open[ed] their hearts and souls and lives to you.” Her work is primarily documented in magazines, fashion, and advertising campaigns and many depict some of the most notorious rock stars, models, and public figures of the modern age. Perhaps most notable, both for merit and circumstances, is the portrait of John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono that Leibovitz took for Rolling Stone a mere five hours before Lennon’s untimely death.


Although Leibovitz is now internationally known for her work and has received numerous prestigious awards, at age 23 in 1972, she had just started working with the brand new Rolling Stone magazine where she worked as a staff photographer.

Having studied painting rather than photography at the San Francisco Art Institute, this was Leibovitz’s first formal step into the photography world. Throughout her ten years at Rolling Stone, Leibovitz artfully fine-tuned her personal style and forged a strong connection to the art of photography by photographing some of her most defining portraits and by influencing, if not defining, the signature Rolling Stone look.


View a slideshow of some of her more recent work on Vogue.com.


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