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A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005 [Hardcover]

by Annie Leibovitz
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 3, 2006 0375505091 978-0375505096 First Edition
“I don’t have two lives,” Annie Leibovitz writes in the Introduction to this collection of her work from 1990—2005. “This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.” Portraits of well-known figures–Johnny Cash, Nicole Kidman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Keith Richards, Michael Jordan, Joan Didion, R2-D2, Patti Smith, Nelson Mandela, Jack Nicholson, William Burroughs, George W. Bush with members of his Cabinet–appear alongside pictures of Leibovitz’s family and friends, reportage from the siege of Sarajevo in the early Nineties, and landscapes made even more indelible through Leibovitz’s discerning eye. The images form a narrative rich in contrasts and continuities: The photographer has a long relationship that ends with illness and death. She chronicles the celebrations and heartbreaks of her large and robust family. She has children of her own. All the while she is working, and the public work resonates with the themes of her life.

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Editorial Reviews


“Annie Leibovitz’s photographic memoir of the past fifteen years in her life captures powerful, intimate moments. . . . She juxtaposes the most personal against the full-color flash of celebrities and the grandeur of the natural landscape against the bloody horror of war. A Photographer’s Life is a testament to a life lived large–and in full embrace.”—More magazine

“Her fans may be astonished both by the range of the work and the unstudied, everyday quality of some of the images–a family day at the beach, a newborn in the delivery room.”—Newsweek

“A revelation.”—Boston Sunday Globe

“Startling.”—Washington Post

About the Author

Annie Leibovitz was born on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. While studying painting at the San Francisco Art Institute she took night classes in photography, and in 1970 she began doing work for Rolling Stone magazine. She became Rolling Stone’s chief photographer in 1973. By the time she left the magazine, ten years later, she had shot 142 covers. She joined the staff of Vanity Fair in 1983 and in 1998 also began working for Vogue.

In addition to her magazine editorial work, Leibovitz has created influential advertising campaigns for American Express, the Gap, and the Milk Board. She has worked with many arts organizations, including American Ballet Theatre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Her books include Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, Photographs: Annie Leibovitz, 1970-1990, Olympic Portraits, Women, and Annie Leibovitz: American Music. Exhibitions of her work have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography in New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris; and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress and is the recipient of many other honors, including the Barnard College Medal of Distinction and the Infinity Award in Applied Photography from the International Center of Photography. She was decorated a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. She lives in New York with her three children, Sarah, Susan, and Samuelle.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375505091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375505096
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 10.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ is one of the most celebrated and admired photographers of our time. She began her work photographing for Rolling Stone magazine and quickly established a reputation as a chronicler of popular culture, eventually becoming a contributing photographer at Vanity Fair and Vogue. Her first book, Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, was published in 1983. In 1999 she published the bestselling Women, with a Preface by Susan Sontag, for which the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington exhibited a selection of portraits in conjunction with the hardcover publication.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shoot t the graphic design team March 23, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After seeing the exhibition (which was fantastic) the book was a sad let down for me and I returned it. Photos were cropped detroying the ambiance or the layout Leibovitz captured and aparently intended in her prints - photos were designed across a spread in such a way as interfered with the photo's integrity (one photo in particular has the page split running through the subject of the photo!). The personal photos of Sonatag in the show were very small and suggested a particular delicacy and intimacy which was lost in the book due to the relative sizing of those prints with all the others. It is a poor accompaniment to an excellent and important show of her work. If you never saw the show - you could propably let it slide - after seeing the show myself, I prefer not to have my memory tainted by an inferior product serving as representation.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In the Gutter! March 21, 2007
GREAT PHOTOS BUT ANNOYING TO LOOK AT!!!! Visually this book is claustrophobic. The images seem forced to fit into a book that is too small to hold them. And probably half of the pictures are across the gutter--very annoying. Sometimes the most important part of the picture is in the gutter. My personal favorite is Michael Jordan with his nose in the gutter. Random House, if you are going to do a book on a great photographer like Annie Liebovitz, do a better job than this.
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77 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Annie Liebovitz - A Rare Glimpse of her Life October 14, 2006
By Dana49
Annie Liebovitz, one of the world's most talented photographers, has released a book that is not as much an exhibit of her world-renowned photography as it is an open expression of her love for family and close friends. The famous people that we've come to expect from a Liebovitz release are still there, although extremely limited. This is more a baring of Annie's soul and personal feelings that one has rarely had the opportunity to see and feel. If you're buying this book for the usual Annie Liebovitz material, you would do best to ignore this release. If you're wanting to see a side of this photographer that the world has rarely seen, please don't hesitate to make the purchase.
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62 of 76 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing December 30, 2006
The first thing about this book, you should know, IMO, is that most of the photos in this book are too big for one page, so they are presented split down the middle by the spine of the book. This is a TERRIBLE problem. Why would someone produce an image where the prime focal area is split down the middle? This alone ought to keep you from wasting your money on this hefty tome.

The second thing you should know - partly because some of the other Amazon reviewers have pointed it out - is that the vast majority of the photos in this book are shapshots of Susan Sontag, the author's intimate partner. But even if all this were potentially OK for me, I would still regret buying the book. See below.

The book evidently started as a personal memoir/elegy of Susan Sontag for distribution to friends at Sontag's funeral. I don't know what I was expecting. Half the book is a collection mostly of personal pictures of one famous person: Susan Sontag. Susan in the mountains, Susan at home, Susan on trips all over the place, Susan sleeping on the couch, etc. The remainder are devoted to celbrity photos and pictures of family, particularly Liebovitz's parents, many of which seem to have a snapshot quality of being unprepared. Too many of them fail to rise above this.

Liebovitz is well known as a photographer of celebrities. Those photos of are indeed imposing. There is a certain authority that Liebovitz brings to her journalistic photos. But this book is mostly not these portraits. It's about the author - which, by the way, is clearly stated as early as the title of the book. Many of these pictures are snapshots that, frankly, are mostly unremarkable.

A great artist can produce numerous pictures of the same subject. Think Cezanne.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I opened this book with anticipation. I washed my hands so I would not mar or fingerprint the photos. And I removed the dust jacket to keep it nice. Annie Leibovitz' artistry compels me to treat her artworks with respect and care. I appreciated the book's large size, because I love large, beautiful images.

Some people probably think portrait photographer's are gifted because they know how to stage a great photo. That is probably true. But I think the less often recognized talent is seeing who people become in the presence of a portraiture artist. When people are in Annie Leibovitz' presence, I think they may ask themselves: What images do I want to define me? What images do I want to represent me for a long time? Around Leibovitz, her subjects become regal, considered, relaxed, and sincere. Sure, the comedians are still cheesing it up for the camera sometimes. But most of her subjects realize this may be one of the few times an image will be created that may portray them in a substantive and enduring light.

In the introduction, Leibovitz' notes "But after Susan died, . . ." And when I read those words, the above thought formed in my head. Leibovitz' subjects realize her photos may be a dominant defining, popularly-known image of them after they are dead. So I think her subjects make extra effort to become something larger than 'everyday' in her presence.

I don't like to make criticisms in my reviews, and I tend to only review artworks I recommend. But it takes more than great photographs to make a great photography book. I was frustrated with the number of photographs that were enlarged across the book gutter, breaking up the photos' flows. Bigger is not always better and many of the photos would have been better as smaller images on one page.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My first photography book I own
I went to a local book store and I came to this book, a big photography book from a renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. Read more
Published 16 days ago by M. Chan
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
This book is filled with Annie ' best past works. This book has a few pages to read however the rest is just beauty.
Published 1 month ago by Adele Lopez
4.0 out of 5 stars gift
Recipient likes her portraits a lot, liked the book but also seemed a bit surprised by the difference in tone between truth and expectations on this one.
Published 1 month ago by Heather Gladney
4.0 out of 5 stars My fave!
Annie Leibovitz is such a talented woman when it comes to photography! her pictures! are just breath taking and inspiring!
Published 1 month ago by Samantha Brookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Captured and contained magic
I chose to gave this book 5 stars for one reason and one (good) reason only. As sain in the title, she's managed to both capture and contain magic in her photos, which is a rare... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Maren Karina Jakobsen
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME
I was so happy to find this and it was in perfect condition! Thanks so very much!!! I will recommend this to everyone!
Published 7 months ago by Mary Joyce Pike
5.0 out of 5 stars She is remarkable !
She's one of my favorite photographers. her photos are very flexible and they have a go. beautiful book , thank you!
Published 7 months ago by Hrayr
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
I bought this book for my wife for her birthday and she absolutely loves it! I would definitely recommend this book.
Published 13 months ago by Luke
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the subject matter that I thought
Don't get me wrong, these are nice photographs but I was hoping to see more of her professional work and no some much photos of her "partner"
Published 13 months ago by Jim Dabir
5.0 out of 5 stars My wife loved it.
We both have a photographer's interest in Annie so this made an awesome gift. It wasn't the book she was expecting.
Published 13 months ago by Alyze Scott
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Topic From this Discussion
Leibovitz's images are memorable mostly because of the recognizability of the subjects. There are a million photographers out there doing much more inspiring work. If you could sum up her work in one word I think it would be "boring." Take away the celebrity subjects and there is... Read more
Aug 6, 2012 by Shawn M. Knox |  See all 4 posts
richard avedon
Nov 3, 2007 by Dawn Turley |  See all 2 posts
Date of Annie's dauther's illness?
I haven't read or seen the book, but isn't it possible that she was referring to Susan Sontag?
Dec 9, 2006 by Anonymous |  See all 3 posts
significance of final photo
Yes, it would be intentional. She's saying she's missing her other half, the woman she loved and is now gone.
Oct 19, 2006 by W. Putman |  See all 3 posts
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