The Artist Birthday Series

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz: photographer

Annie Leibovitz (born October 2, 1949) is an American portrait photographer. She photographed John Lennon on the day he was assassinated, and her work was used on two record albums by Joan Armatrading. She is the only woman to have held an exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery. Leibovitz is much influenced by Richard Avedon, and his ‘personal reportage’, developing close rapport with her subjects.

Portrait of Annie Leibovitz by John Keatley
Portrait of Annie Leibovitz by John Keatley

Anna-Lou Leibovitz was born in Waterbury, Connecticut on October 2, 1949,  and is the third of six children of Marilyn Edith (née Heit) and Samuel Leibovitz. Her mother was a modern dance instructor of Estonian Jewish heritage, and her father was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The family moved frequently with her father’s duty assignments, and she took her first pictures when he was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War.

"American Soldiers and the Queen of the Negritos," 1968
“American Soldiers and the Queen of the Negritos,” 1968

She attended Northwood High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, and became interested in various artistic endeavors and began to write and play music. She later became a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting. For several years, she continued to develop her photography skills while holding various jobs, including a stint on a kibbutz in Amir, Israel, for several months in 1969.

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