By Elli Stuhler
Why Should We Care: Annie Leibovitz is more than a name you throw around at a cocktail party when indulging in verbal masturbation over your extensive knowledge of art and pop culture. At the age of 60, Annie Leibovitz is a name coated in admiration, and a label attached to a great piece of photography. Her photos have the intrinsic ability to catch the one moment when her subject (usually someone famous enough to eat the world) displays that introverted glimpse in their eye. She began her career at Rolling Stone in 1970, was the photo editor in chief by 1973 and by the 80’s she was photographing celebrities for Vanity Fair.
Why She’s Better Than Miley Cyrus: While Leibovitz has stretching the boundaries of magazine covers for the last twenty years her most recent spell of publicity involved everyone’s [least] favourite tween icon, the then-fifteen-year-old Miley Cyrus. The 2008 portrait shows a half nude Miley covering her breasts with a satin bed sheet, dark mussed hair and red lipstick. The Vampira-meets-Lolita feel of the photo, so far removed from her sugar pop image, caused Miley to publicly apologize, saying she was “embarrassed” by the photos. A nonchalant Leibovitz responded that she and the starlet had discussed the photos beforehand and that she thought they were quite beautiful. Juicy stuff.
Her Photo That Made History: While the Miley ordeal is cute enough; the photograph that is synonymous with the name Annie Leibovitz is the one that made history on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1980. Those of you readers who consider yourselves Beatles fans know exactly what I’m talking about. On December 8th 1980 Annie went to the Dakota, in New York City to photograph a certain John and Yoko. She photographed a nude John wrapped around a fully clothed Yoko. She was photographing them for the cover of Rolling Stone to mark the release of John and Yoko’s album Double Fantasy. Mr. Lennon was fatally shot later that day and the photo did go to the cover of RS, but to commemorate the death of the late Beatle.
You’ve Also Seen:
Another Rolling Stone cover, the one of Pete Townsend propping his face on a bloody hand. The blood in this photo was real-he cut himself, and Leibovitz thought it looked good.
The cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA
A fully pregnant, fully nude Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair in August 1991 which lead to a slew of controversy.
What she’s doing now: While there have been bouts of money mismanagement in the millions, law suits and the death of her partner Susan Sontag, Leibovitz’s latest work was a family portrait of the smiling Obamas.
In a Movie We’d Cast: Diane Keaton, for sharing that beautifully-weathered-but-wise look, and because she’s already played a photographer in her 1977 film Annie Hall.