Posts Tagged 'Annie Leibovitz'

Famed Photographer Facing Financial Ruin

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Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images Europe

Annie Leibovitz is one of, if not the, preeminent celebrity photographer in the world. She also owes $24 million – due September 8th – and she’s on the verge of financial ruin, not to mention losing the rights to her archives.

So the New York Times in a recent article asks rather incredulously: “If Annie Leibovitz can’t make it in New York, who can?” Er, anyone can make it in New York – especially at the salary she’s been commanding for around 30 years; she just must be, to be really frank, a colossal flake.

While the article seems sympathetic to Leibovitz, any thinking person would come away shaking their head. It describes Leibovitz as beholden to a “pawn shop”-like lending company (but their shaky reputation was apparently well-documented) and having  family burdens (like work overload and children – yes, very unique) and real estate expenses (multiple million-dollar homes). They also say she’s  terrible with her money and extremely irresponsible and always has been.

“The mind that can take these extraordinary pictures is not necessarily the same mind that is a perfect money manager,” said Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair.

OK, but does that mind know well enough to pay someone else to manage their money? How does anyone making the money she does, or even just anyone anywhere,  get into a situation where they owe $24 million? The article notes that she’s always been extremely protective about reproduction of her work, and sadly, she stands to lose the rights to all of her images since she pledged them as collateral for the loan (along with her homes). Too bad she wasn’t protective of her financial portfolio.

Like MC Hammer and Ed McMahon before her, it’s just really hard to feel sorry for multi-millionaires who can’t manage their money.

Article from The New York Times

Just Another Day “At Work”

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Annie Leibovitz/Rolling Stone – January 22, 1981

If you haven’t seen it, Annie Leibovitz’s latest book “At Work” is a good read and an interesting look behind the scenes with one of the world’s most famous photographers. In it, she tells the stories of some of her iconic shots, including Rolling Stone covers of John and Yoko and the Blues Brothers, as well as Vanity Fair portraits of everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to George W. Bush’s cabinet (a classic mafioso family shot if there ever was one).   

What’s amazing about her story is, her talent notwithstanding, she was also fortunate enough to start out in a much simpler era – when a novice photographer could just call up Rolling Stone’s art director and show him her shots of anti-war rallies in San Francisco. (Granted, Rolling Stone was truly a fringe, counter-culture magazine back then.) She describes getting the plum assignment of tagging alongside notorious gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson this way: “So I just jumped in the car and went along with him for a while.” That just doesn’t happen anymore.

Leibovitz is also the subject of this week’s Time magazine’s reader-generated feature “10 Questions.”



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