Annie Leibovitz was born today, October 2, in 1949. She is a renowned portrait photographer known for her work on numerous album covers and magazines. She is the first woman to have held an exhibition at Washington's National Portrait Gallery in 1991.
Leibovitz started her career as staff photographer, working for Rolling Stone magazine. In 1973, publisher Jann Wenner named Leibovitz chief photographer of Rolling Stone, a job she would hold for 10 years. Leibovitz worked for the magazine until 1983, and her intimate photographs of celebrities helped define the Rolling Stone look.
On December 8, 1980, Leibovitz had a photo shoot with John Lennon for Rolling Stone. She had initially tried to get a picture with just Lennon alone, as Rolling Stone wanted, but Lennon insisted that both he and Yoko Ono be on the cover. She had John remove his clothes and curl up next to Yoko on the floor. You couldn't help but feel that he was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I think it was amazing to look at the first Polaroid and they were both very excited. John said, 'You've captured our relationship exactly. Leibovitz was the last person to professionally photograph Lennon—he was shot and killed five hours later.
Leibovitz had a close relationship with writer and essayist Susan Sontag from 1989 until Sontag's death in 2004. Leibovitz said the descriptor "lover" was accurate. She later reiterated, "Call us 'lovers'. I like 'lovers.' You know, 'lovers' sounds romantic. I mean, I want to be perfectly clear. I love Susan."