Community//

A Look Back with Annie Leibovitz

A Celebrated Photographer Recounts the Ride of Her Life

Annie Leibovitz talks about that infamous day; photo by Kathy Leonardo
Annie Leibovitz talks about that infamous day; photo by Kathy Leonardo

Millennials may know iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz best for her infamous Vanity Fair cover photo of Caitlyn Jenner. However, long before the rise of these reality show spectacles, Leibovitz had already left an indelible mark on the world. Prior to the star-studded covers she did for Vanity Fair, she was a young ambitious photographer seeing the world through the lens of her camera.

A walk-through with Annie Leibovitz; photo by Kathy Leonardo

“The Early Years, 1970 – 1983: Archive Project No.1” brings us on a journey, featuring more than 4,000 profound photographs. Pinned to the wall in a casual grid format, each photo unto itself is a work of art. However, as I viewed the exhibition in its totality, I was engulfed by the sheer volume of work…as if I were in a fast moving car with historic images whizzing by. How does one woman accomplish so much in one lifetime?

From iconic images of Andy Warhol, to those of a fallen president (Richard Nixon), to the famed photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken hours before his untimely murder, this iconic photographer has captured it all. These images and many more including my favorite… Leibovitz’s uncensored, behind the scenes shots of the Rolling Stones tell each person’s story in an intimate yet candid way.

Annie Leibovitz, “The Early Years” photo by Richard Bilow; courtesy of LAArtParty.com

This exhibition is an extension of the 2017 survey of the same title presented by the LUMA Foundation at the festival Rencontres d’Arles, France. “The Early Years” is a fascinating inside look through the beginning of this legendary artist’s rise to fame. One can glimpse the evolution of her work as she trained her eye, and her true voice emerged.

The press preview provided access to a down-to-earth, honest and open Annie Leibovitz. She discussed how she organized the exhibit which took her months to curate. “It became a river of work, with a liberal edge,” said Leibovitz. It is a nod to her youth and where she came from. She said she had hoped that it would inspire young photographers. One can only imagine her task at hand as she delved through her vast archives. She admitted her pleasure in sorting through these memorable images. Vignettes of family photos are interspersed throughout the chronologically organized show. Leibovitz included a photograph of her own mother who was a dancer.  She teared up, as she reminisced how special the experience was… “she wasn’t my mom anymore…she was a dancer and I was the photographer.”

She described her early years as living with her camera…she carried it with her at all times. “There was no food in my refrigerator, so there was no reason to go home,” laughed the photographer. After approaching Rolling Stone magazine (as a student) with her own images, she would go on to work thirteen years with the notorious publication.

Annie Leibovitz talks about that infamous John and Yoko photo; photo by Kathy Leonardo; courtesy of LAArtParty.com

In addition to capturing pivotal moments in history, she was assigned to go on tour with the Rolling Stones. She revealed her trepidation when she first received the assignment…she was taken aback, knowing that she would be the next photographer to document their tour after her mentor and hero Robert Frank did it. “I really wanted to be on the Bob Dylan/Joan Baez tour (the Rolling Thunder Revue) instead,” joked Leibovitz. Needless to say, we (the viewers) are glad she was assigned that tour in 1975.

As quoted in the New York Times, the gallery’s partner and vice president Marc Payot said, “There is rarely somebody who has captured America like her in terms of her perception of the 20th century.”

Annie Leibovitz, looking back; photo by Kathy Leonardo; courtesy of LAArtParty.com

“The Early Years, 1970 – 1983: Archive Project No.1” featuring the photography of Annie Leibovitz opened on February 14 and will remain on view at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles through April 14, 2019. To find out more about the exhibition and the artist, visit https://www.hauserwirth.com/

The above exhibition was part of LA Art Week which took place in February 2019 and was included in larger article on LAArtParty.com – you can find it under the Art, Design Fair Reviews drop-down of the Artists/Exhibitions Page. This exact article was previously published on LAArtParty.com – under the Exhibitions Reviews drop-down of the Artists/Exhibitions Page.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Need Inspiration and a Touch of Magic for Your Wedding Photography? World, Meet Ann-Kathrin Koch

by Special Features
Community//

“I started a movement to teach and inspire the upcoming generation of Motion Artists” With Troy Christopher Plota

by Yitzi Weiner
Community//

About ‘A Beautiful Ghetto’

by Devin Allen

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.