If there was ever a photographer that permeated the American psyche in a modern sense, watching some of the most gifted artists, musicians, and cultural icons to ever exist shoot into the stratosphere like blazing supernovas, and then somehow managing to capture the frenzy that followed with a classic, honeyed glaze, it would be Annie Leibovitz.
With over half a century of experience in the field, Leibovitz’s high-profile assignments for titles such as Vogue, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair have united her with the most visionary minds of the modern day, including a nude-but-painted Keith Haring, a smouldering Patti Smith amidst a scene of fiery devastation, and Ellen DeGeneres in pseudo-saucy mime get-up. Though this mini-list barely scratches the surface of her photographic output, the photographer’s newest Taschen photobook seeks to bring these moments together in a re-print of the pieces that didn’t always make it to print.
Ellen DeGeneres, Kauai, Hawaii, 1997 Photography Annie Leibovitz
John Cleese, London, 1990 Photography by Annie Leibovitz
Having defined what we now refer to online as ‘the culture’ through her deeply personal portraiture, the self-titled, XXL hardcover draws on work both personal and commercial. We’re treated to vignettes of peace with Yoko and John (sans outfit), Whoopie Goldberg’s joyous emergence from a milk bath, helicoptered Presidential arrivals, a morph-suited John Cleese hanging from trees by the skin of his toes and a mid-aughts Becks showing off his sweaty guns. These small parcels of time couldn’t be more different, yet they all speak to our affinity for cultural innovation and its arbiters of change, creating an icon-making legacy for Leibovitz in their wake.
Annie Leibovitz is available from September 1st via TASCHEN, with pre-orders available here
Steve Martin, Beverly Hills, California, 1981 Photography by Annie Leibovitz
Richard Nixon leaving the White House after his resignation as President, Washington, D.C., 1974 Photography by Annie Leibovitz