10 things you need to know about celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz's A Photographer's Life 1990-2005, at the ArtScience Museum, will run from April 18 to Oct 19, 2014. PHOTO: FM RACHEL LOI SY/ COURTESY OF ANNIE LEIBOVITZ  
Annie Leibovitz's A Photographer's Life 1990-2005, at the ArtScience Museum, will run from April 18 to Oct 19, 2014. PHOTO: FM RACHEL LOI SY/ COURTESY OF ANNIE LEIBOVITZ  

Celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz is in Singapore today to kick off her exhibition, titled Annie Leibovitz A Photographer's Life 1990-2005, at the ArtScience Museum that will run from April 18 to Oct 19, 2014. According to the tickets sales website, the display will feature "photographs of famous public figures and personal photographs of family and friends" taken by the famous lenswoman. Before you head down to the ArtScience Museum to check out her work, here are 10 things that will enhance your appreciation of her pictures.

1) Leibovitz was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on Oct 2, 1949, to an air force officer and a dance instructor, the third of six children. She was in a close relationship with writer Susan Sontag, whom she met in 1988, until her death in 2004. Leibovitz has three daughters (below), one born in 2001 when she was 51 years old and twins born to a surrogate mother in 2005.  

2) The American photographer is famous for her celebrity portraits that have a distinct, ethereal quality. Over her career spanning more than four decades, her portraits of actors such as Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Kidman, singers Mick Jagger, Lady Gaga and Rihanna have been published in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Vogue.

3) Even if you don't read these magazines, you've probably seen her work. For instance, she has long shot portraits for Louis Vuitton advertisements, featuring Sean Connery, Bono, Keith Richards and even the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.  

4) Her work has occasionally stirred controversy. That portrait of Gorbachev in 2007 was shot next to a section of the Berlin Wall, one of the enduring symbols of the old Soviet Union. In the Louis Vuitton bag next to him was a publication with the headline in Russian: “The Murder of Litvinenko: They Wanted to Give Up the Suspect for $7,000.” It was a reference to the former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his death by radiation poisoning, reported The New York Times

5) Leibovitz was the last person to photograph Beatle John Lennon. She took the famous photograph of a nude Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone magazine on Dec 8, 1980. He was shot and killed the same day the portrait was taken. 

6) Leibovitz has been shooting an ongoing series of portraits of famous people as fairy-tale characters since 2007. Celebrities such as Rachel Weisz posed as Snow White while Roger Federer put on a suit of armour to become King Arthur in the photographs for Disney as part of its advertising campaign. 

 7) The photographer has published numerous books of her works, including Olympic Portraits (1991), which included shots of track stars Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson. Her latest book in 2014 is a giant sized collection of 250 of her photographs. 

 

 

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8) She started using Facebook and Twitter this year, although she appears to be more active on Facebook, going by the number of updates on the social media site. Here's a portrait of comedienne Ellen DeGeneres posted by Leibovitz on Facebook. 

 

 

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And here are portraits of the characters from the hit series Game Of Thrones in the current issue of Vanity Fair. 

 

 

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9) Despite her fame and earning power, Leibovitz was in deep financial trouble in 2009. She was sued by a company for not paying a US$24 million (S$30 million) debt she had taken and faced the prospect of losing her home in Manhattan, reported The New York Times. The newspaper added that she had been behind in payments for taxes and photography services, among other financial troubles she had at that time. 

10) Her latest work that generated a lot of buzz is the picture of rapper Kanye West and reality TV star Kim Kardashian on the cover of the April issue of Vogue magazine.

 

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This, of course was mercilessly spoofed by actors James Franco and Seth Rogen.

Though given their history of pranks, it's probably safe to assume they were having a laugh at the expense of the couple and not the photographer.

What did we say about you being likely to have seen her work? 

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