Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz goes in front of the lens at Singapore's ArtScience Museum

Famed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose new exhibition will open in Singapore on April 18. Titled Annie Leibovitz A Photographer's Life 1990-2005, the show will feature about 190 photographs from her personal and professional col
Famed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose new exhibition will open in Singapore on April 18. Titled Annie Leibovitz A Photographer's Life 1990-2005, the show will feature about 190 photographs from her personal and professional collection. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Three lensmen train their cameras on famed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz at the ArtScience Museum. She matches them snap for snap with the Canon hanging around her neck.

"It'll make a good series," says the 64-year-old, joking about putting together a collection of photos of those who photograph her.

Leibovitz is on a one-day visit to Singapore to check on her new exhibition opening here on April 18. More used to being behind the lens than in front, she is known for her stunning, often nude, often controversial portraits of celebrities - most recently, a bare-chested Neil Patrick Harris holding large snakes for the May cover of magazine Vanity Fair.

At the Art Science Museum, about 190 photographs from her personal and professional collection will be on display until Oct 19, in a show titled Annie Leibovitz A Photographer's Life 1990-2005. The travelling exhibition debuted at the Brooklyn Museum in New York in 2006 and the images are collected in a book of the same name, published by Random House and retailing here at bookstores and the museum for $99.

The exhibition includes controversial portraits such as the 1991 colour study of a nude and pregnant Demi Moore, which sparked some outrage when it first appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair. Hanging on the same wall is an earlier black-and-white shot of Moore during her first pregnancy in 1988, cradled by former husband Bruce Willis.

Along with shots of political leaders and Hollywood stars are smaller pictures of her family, including her parents at the beach and her three daughters at play. There are also images of war-torn Bosnia and Rwanda from her few stints at reportage.

The collection is her second retrospective, following Photographs: 1970-1990. It began when she was sorting photographs of her late, longtime companion, the writer Susan Sontag, who died of cancer in 2004. She had taken photographs throughout Sontag's illness and a few weeks after the funeral, captured her dying father Samuel's last moments on camera. The retrospective was part of the grieving process, she says.

"Photographs: 1970-1990 made me long to be young and have that innocence where you just go out and are taking pictures all the time. There's an innocence to that work you can't recapture," she tells Life!. "With this work, I kind of came of age."

Annie Leibovitz A Photographer's Life 1990-2005 is at the ArtScience Museum from April 18 to Oct 19. Go to http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html for more information.

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