Annie Leibovitz has spent 40 years of her life behind the lens. As such, four decades’ worth of stuff has happened as she stood by documenting – some of that stuff small, some of it big. The time, for example, that she snapped Nixon’s helicopter lift-off from The White House after he resigned likely comes under the latter category; the instance when she caught for posterity the last recorded embrace of John Lennon and Yoko Ono counts, arguably, as the former, the profundity here occasioned precisely by the small, insularity of the world and that Leibovitz was allowed inside it.
Having snapped her way onto the scene in the Seventies, Leibovitz made her name as chief photographer for Rolling Stone and latterly via her editorials for Vanity Fair and Vogue. So it was with little hesitation that Benedikt Taschen approached her to compile an anthology of the last 40 years and the best of what she and her camera lens had eyed up in that time.
The resultant tome is, by turns, beautiful, funny, poignant and surprising. Its giant size lends it a literal heavyweight gravitas, apt for this titan of the photographic world, while its contents is like the ultimate family album, so tangible is the confidence and familiarity her subjects evidently feel before Leibovitz’s trained camera.
A supplementary book contains essays by Annie Leibovitz, Graydon Carter, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Paul Roth and short texts describing the subjects of each of the over 250 photographs.
The Collector’s Edition (10,000 signed and numbered copies only) is available in four different dust jackets:
Whoopi Goldberg, Berkeley, California, 1984 Keith Haring, New York City, 1986
David Byrne, Los Angeles, 1986
Patti Smith, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1978
Authors: Steve Martin, Graydon Carter, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Paul Roth
Hardcover (with 6 fold-outs), supplement book, and book stand designed by Marc Newson, 50.0 x 69.0 cm (19.7 x 27.2 in.), 476 pages
£ 1,750; taschen.com