Annie Leibovitz unveils exhibition

(REUTERS) - Renowned American photographer Annie Leibovitz unveils her latest exhibition, which features portraits of women ranging from former Olympic champion and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, to comedian Amy Schumer, and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, in London on Wednesday (Jan 13).

Members of the media gathered in a disused hydraulic power station in the east of the capital for the press preview of Women: New Portraits, a continuation of a project that began more than 15 years ago. Leibovitz published the popular series Women in 1999, in collaboration with writer and critic Susan Sontag.

Her latest exhibition focuses on "women of outstanding achievement", according to a press release for the event.

"I left journalism to go in to portraiture because I had more leeway. You're allowed... In journalism you're supposed to be very objective and in portraiture, you know, you can say throw objectivity away," Leibovitz told journalists.

A photograph of Caitlyn Jenner posing in a white strapless leotard - similar to Leibovitz's photograph of Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair published last July - is among the portraits. Caitlyn, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, transitioned to life as a woman last year. The photographer said that for her, that shoot encompassed the empathy involved in taking portraits.

"It was really about the emergence, I said this before. Bruce is still there but Caitlyn emerged... I worry for Caitlyn because she has a long way to go."

American activist and writer Gloria Steinem, who features in one of the photographs in the exhibition, also attended the launch.

She said that the portraits, which range from female pop stars to politicians, do not have a hierarchy. She compared it to being a circle. "You know we've been sitting around campfires for a hundred thousand years, telling our stories. This is another campfire," she said.

The exhibition also features photographs from Leibovitz's previous project, including a photograph of her mother, Marilyn Leibovitz, which she said was most likely her favourite photograph.

She has captured many of the world's most influential women on camera, but the photographer added at the press preview that German chancellor Angela Merkel would be the next female she would most want to photograph.

After its London launch, the exhibition will travel to several cities including Tokyo, Singapore and New York.

Women: New Portraits, commissioned by UBS, is on display at London's Wapping Hydraulic Power Station from Jan 16 to Feb 7.