About the Photographer
American, b. 1949
Since the start of her career in the 1970s, Annie Leibovitz has become one of the most prominent and admired American portrait photographers. Often identified with her celebrity portraits, she takes a relatively straightforward approach in depicting these famous figures, creating a feeling of openness and intimacy, as if offering an insider's view, while also playing off of the sitter's public image with occasional touches of irony. For much of her career Leibovitz has worked as magazine photographer, and she developed her style with the printed page in mind. In 1970, while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, Leibovitz became a freelance contributor to Rolling Stone magazine, then in its fledgling days. She received her BFA the following year and in 1973 she was hired as the magazine's chief photographer at the age of 22. Her first assignment was to photograph John Lennon in New York for a cover story. Leibovitz remained with Rolling Stone for more than decade, helping to establish its visual signature, before accepting a position in 1983 at the newly founded Vanity Fair magazine.
In 1988 The Gap launched an advertising campaign titled the "Individuals of Style," for which it commissioned leading photographers to create black and white portraits of famous cultural figures of their choosing. Leibovitz photographed Anthony Kiedis of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers and actress Jane March, as well as a number of other artists, writers, and musicians. Intended for display in bus stop shelters, the photographs from the campaign are printed at a large scale and overlaid with the Gap logo. Along with two photographs by Leibovitz, MoCP's collection includes portraits commissioned for the project from five other photographers. These selections were exhibited at MoCP in 1994. Photographs from campaign were also presented at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2007.