American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz was born in 1949 in Connecticut. Her father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the USA Air Force, leading the family to move frequently, Leibovitz would take her first photographs while being stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. She went on to study painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, and simultaneously honed her camera skills.
In 1970 Leibovitz started working as a photographer at Rolling Stone magazine. Within three years she was named as the magazine’s Chief Photographer; and by 1983 she had moved on to Vanity Fair. During this decade, other artists, notably Richard Avedon and Henri Cartier-Bresson, influenced Leibovitz. She observed that one could carve a successful commercial career alongside personal projects.
Leibovitz continued her portrait photography for editorial and advertising campaigns, but gradually began to focus on her personal endeavours. Her work began to be exhibited in galleries and museums. In 1991 the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. mounted over 200 colour and black-and-white works, and published the book ‘Photographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970-1990’ to accompany the exhibition.
Between 2009 and 2011 Leibovitz diversified her work with Pilgrimage, a very personal project. She decided to choose individual subjects that held meaning for her, whether they were literal views of living spaces, sole objects, or landscapes. Leibovitz is a celebrated portrait photographer, but Pilgrimage contains no people – they are notes for portraits. In 2011, Hamiltons Gallery exhibited twenty-six works from the Pilgrimage series. This exhibition preceded the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s exhibition held in 2012, after which the museum acquired 64 works for its permanent collection.
Annie Leibovitz’s photographs are today held in collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a few amongst many. Amongst her accomplishements, she was also the first woman to have a feature exhibition at Washington’s National Portrait Gallery. She currently lives and works in New York, NY.