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Leibovitz, Annie (b. 1949)  
page: 1  2  

Leibovitz's awareness of the body in motion is in part a product of her lifelong interest in dance. Her work includes memorable pictures of Mikhail Baryshnikov and his troupe. In 1990 Leibovitz spent three weeks living with and photographing the dancers at White Oak plantation in Florida, creating a photographic record that contains both carefully composed formal portraits and shots of the dancers and choreographer Mark Morris at work.

In recent years Leibovitz has undertaken several projects of photographing people who are not famous. She has done a series of portraits of people with AIDS, and she went to the Balkans to take pictures of the victims of the war in Bosnia.

In 1992 Leibovitz told an interviewer that "the biological clock is definitely ticking" and that for several years she had been considering having children. However, it was not until 2001, at the age of 52, that she gave birth to a daughter, Sarah Cameron Leibovitz, whom she named after Julia Margaret Cameron, a Victorian Englishwoman who was among the first female professional photographers. Leibovitz has not identified the father of her child, who was conceived through artificial insemination.

For over a decade Leibovitz was the close companion of writer Susan Sontag (1933-2004), who was present at the birth of the former's baby, but the two did not publicly discuss the nature of their relationship.

This reticence brought them criticism from some lesbians and gay men. Outspoken lesbian critic Camille Paglia has remarked that "One of my primary gripes about Sontag from the start was her cowardice about her sex life." When Carl Rollyson and Lisa Paddock's biography Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon suggested that she had lesbian relationships, Sontag's lawyers threatened possible lawsuits; and Norton, the publisher of the book, decided not to issue it in Britain for fear of an action for libel.

Leibovitz is as private as Sontag was, noting in a 1999 interview in the Washington Post that she and Sontag had separate apartments--although in the same complex--and designating friend the appropriate term for their relationship. "You'd be wrong to say anything else," she insisted.

Although Leibovitz and Sontag were largely silent on the subject of their relationship, they appeared in public together for years. Leibovitz was photographed by Sontag's side at the latter's readings and lectures. Sontag accompanied Leibovitz to Mexico and Warsaw for exhibitions of her photographs. The two also traveled to Bosnia together during the war there.

Leibovitz and Sontag collaborated professionally on Women (1999), a lavish book of Leibovitz's photographs with an essay by Sontag. The first photograph in the book is of Leibovitz's mother, and the last is of Sontag. Over one hundred women are pictured in the book, and there are thumbnail biographies of all the principal subjects except Sontag and one woman identified only as "Victim of Domestic Violence."

There is some debate as to the value of Leibovitz's photographs as art. Some critics dismiss her work because of its focus on celebrities and its commercialism. Others, however, point to her imagination and creativity in posing her subjects and stress the importance of her photographs as documents of popular culture.

Linda Rapp

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   Related Entries
arts >> Overview:  Photography: Lesbian, Post-Stonewall

Since Stonewall lesbian photographers have created an enduring archive that documents lesbian lives, searches for a lesbian sensibility, and explores various issues of particular import to the lesbian community.

arts >> Hujar, Peter

Photographer Peter Hujar created stark, stunning, affecting , and sometimes disturbing images in black and white.

arts >> Morris, Mark

American choreographer Mark Morris creates works that typically mix elements of Eastern and Western cultures and frequently explore sexual ambiguities.

literature >> Paglia, Camille

The frequently outrageous cultural commentary and caustic criticism of Camille Paglia have made her both famous and controversial.

literature >> Sontag, Susan

Although she treated her own lesbianism as a strictly private matter, Susan Sontag wrote perceptively on gay male figures and issues.


Baxter, Sara. "Leibovitz Delays Motherhood until the Last Minute." The Ottawa Citizen (November 25, 2001): D8.

Graham, Caroline. "Persuade Me, Baby." Courier Mail (December 8, 2001): M3.

Hagen, Charles. "Annie Leibovitz Reveals Herself." ARTnews (March 1999): 91-95.

Laing, Allan. "Her eye's on the prize." The Herald (Glasgow) (May 12, 2001): 16.

Leibovitz, Annie, and Susan Sontag. Women. New York: Random House, 1999.

Schorow, Stephanie. "Photo Graphic: Known for Nude Celebrity Photos, Annie Leibovitz Is Proud of her Intense Focus on 'Women.'" The Boston Herald (December 11, 2000): 29.

Span, Paula. "The Restless Eye; At 50 Annie Leibovitz Has Fame, Money, Influence. So Why Is She Still So Driven?" The Washington Post (October 24, 1999): G1.

Tait, Robert. "Two Single Women--and a Baby." The Scotsman (May 15, 2001): 4.

Van Biema, David. "The (eye) of Annie Leibovitz." Life (April 1994): 46.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Leibovitz, Annie  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated April 3, 2013  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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