Annie Leibovitz, New York City, 2004, Courtesy and © Annie Leibovitz.
Annie Leibovitz’s work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time. In 2016 her new photographs will be shown in 10 cities during a period of 12 months, beginning in London in January 2016. The new work is a continuation of a project Leibovitz began over fifteen years ago, when she published a book of portraits made in collaboration with Susan Sontag. That book, Women, was accompanied by an exhibition that opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Women is Leibovitz’s most enduringly popular series of photographs and she has long wanted to expand her exploration of the subject.
The new portraits, in an exhibition also to be called “Women,” will reflect the changes in the roles of women today. Aligned with the focus commissioning partner, global financial firm UBS places on education, learning programs will accompany the exhibition presented in partnership with cultural organizations around the world. These initiatives will explore ways of seeing through photography, working with young people in local communities. The exhibition will be open to the public for free, but the undisclosed venues will not be in museums or art galleries, the sites are being chosen, the organisers say, “for the possibilities they offer for original and unexpected encounters.”
Women by Annie Leibovitz & Susan Sontag, Hardcover, 1999. With over 115 black-and-white and color photogravures, the photographs by Annie Leibovitz in Women, taken especially for the book, encompass a broad spectrum of subjects: a rap artist, an astronaut, two Supreme Court justices, farmers, coal miners, movie stars, showgirls, rodeo riders, socialites, reporters, dancers, a maid, a general, a surgeon, the First Lady of the United States, the secretary of state, a senator, rock stars, prostitutes, teachers, singers, athletes, poets, writers, painters, musicians, theater directors, political activists, performance artists, and businesswomen. “Each of these pictures must stand on its own,” Susan Sontag writes in the essay that accompanies the portraits. “But the ensemble says, So this is what women are now, as different, as varied, as heroic, as forlorn, as conventional, as unconventional as this.”
Annie Leibovitz has been making witty, powerful images documenting popular culture since the early 1970’s, when she worked as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone. In the 1980’s she began expanding her collective portrait of the social landscape with photographs for Vanity Fair and then Vogue and in award-winning advertising campaigns. Leibovitz is the recipient of many honors. She has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.