"My dream is to walk around the world. A smallish backpack, all essentials neatly in place. A camera. A notebook. A traveling paint set. A hat. Good shoes. A nice pleated (green?) skirt for the occasional seaside hotel afternoon dance." - Maira Kalman
Known for: Her illustrations, we adored her NYT’s column’s, particularly her depiction of Justice Ginsburg.
She writes, paints, illustrates, performs, and walks her dog. she is independent, inspired, and always up for breaking a rule and leaping outside our expectations. She took her English degree from NYU and became an artist. She married (Tiber Kalman), raised two children, and co-founded a company (M & Co.), but spends her days taking in our world and spitting it right back out with a playful perspective.
She has helped in the creation of a new genre of picture books with her unique and unafraid unions of picture and word. Her work includes 12 children’s books, the most well-known which covers the adventures of a poet dog named Max who travels around the world. She is able to make reading intelligent and engaging for children and adults. She stamps our culture with New Yorker cover illustrations and Atlantic Monthly commentaries in addition to her permanent collections.
When her late husband of 32 years, who was just as talented and socially aware, passed away from Cancer in 1999, she didn’t mourn standing still. She helped put together a retrospective exhibit for Tiber and took over as CEO of his multidisciplinary company, which produces products of art from paperweights to clocks.
She seems fearless; sketchbook and camera in hand she explores. From her enormous colorful murals during Grand Central Terminals renovation to the map of NewYorkistan she created with Rick Meyerowitz—her creative contributions are noticed. Her compilations don fabrics for Issac Mizrahi, Mannequins for Pucci and even worked their way onto a few Kate Spade handbags.
The New York Times ran a yearlong collection of her work titled “The Principles of Uncertainty” (now a book featured on our bookshelves) and the overwhelming fan reaction show we are not alone in being inspired. But that makes sense for a woman who seems to spend her days letting just about anything inspire her. We just hope she continues to share with the rest of the world!
I was in Covenant Garden in London in 2007 when I discovered a simple swipe of “flush blush” could brighten up my entire face. The stick became as fundamental as mascara to my daily routine. When Pout went under, I went over to my sister’s makeup bag and found Nars “orgasm” created the same fresh glow. Sick of me swiping it from bronzer duo, she gave me the holiday pack accompanied by a condom that Christmas, and I’ve stood by it. It filled the void, leaving me uncompelled to update to the bolder “Super orgasm” or more subdued “Sex Appeal.” I’m also unlikely try the rumored fragrance. I swipe the Nars “South Beach” stick underneath during dull days, but am looking forward to boldly brushing it on this spring.
Resides: New York, City and Upstate
Relations: Daughters Sara, Susan, and Samuelle
Known for: Her breathtaking celebrity portraits
It’s almost impossible to flip through the pages of Vanity Fair or Vogue and not see a breathtaking picture taken by Annie Leibovitz. Arguably the most talented portrait photographer ever and unquestionably the most well known, Annie Leibovitz’s photos portray both the reality and glamour of her subjects. Whether it be Oprah sitting on the front porch of the shack where she was raised in Mississippi, a woman’s face showing the pain of domestic abuse, Demi Moore nine months pregnant and nude, or her own children playing on the beach, Annie’s pictures all have a sense of vulnerability. She seems to capture the essence of a person to and that is perhaps why, we can’t seem to get enough of her work.
At the age of 21, Annie got a job as a staff photographer at Rolling Stone, and it didn’t take long for the 21 year old art student to make a name for herself. With her unique viewpoint and her knack for rock star portraits, Annie’s photos were soon gracing the magazine’s cover. In 1973 she was named Rolling Stone’s chief photographer and soon after took her most recognized photo to date, a picture that due to unforeseeable circumstances, would become infamous.
When Annie arrived to photograph John Lennon and Yoko Ono, she recounts being initially upset that Yoko refused to be photographed nude, but when John wrapped his naked body around Yoko, still fully clothed, the beauty of the picture was undeniable. Hours later, John Lennon was shot and killed, and Annie’s photo was not longer seen as just a great picture but a tribute Lennon’s life. Since then, Annie has photographed countless actors, athletes, musicians, and artists not to mention real people. Her photos have been made into 6 books. The most recent, A Photographer’s Life 1990-200 was published in October 2006.
Annie has taken many influential photographs, George W. Bush’s cabinet, Suri Cruise’s first photos, Whoopie Goldberg submerged in a bath of milk, but the photos that most influenced Leibovitz’s personal life was a portrait taken of Susan Sontag for Susan’s book AIDS and It’s Metaphor. Annie couldn’t have known how photographing this woman would change her life. Their meeting began a partnership that would last 15 years. Annie sights her relationship with Susan as one of the greatest influences in her life. Susan was the reason behind Annie’s trip to Sarajevo during which she took some of her most heart wrenching photos of the war torn city. Susan’s comments on Annie’s work as a photographer inspired her to take her work to the next level. “I think she came into my life at the right time,” she said. “I wanted to do better things, take photographs that matter.” Susan also encouraged Annie to publish her book Women, a compilation of photos depicting inspirational women. Annie and Susan’s relationship had always been intensely private, it wasn’t until after Susan’s death from leukemia in 2004, that Annie publicly commented on their partnership, “”Words like ‘companion’ and ‘partner’ were not in our vocabulary,” Leibovitz says “We were two people who helped each other through our lives. The closest word is still ‘friend’.”
Annie seemed to be completely focused on her work, but coming from a close-knit family of 6, Annie had always hoped for children of her own. Annie made a decision, that at the age of 52 it was time to start her family. She gave birth to her first daughter, Sara Cameron, in 2001. Although Annie has said publicly that she would encourage woman not to wait as long as she did to start her family, she didn’t let her age stop her from having even more children. In 2004 a surrogate mother gave birth to two more baby girls. Annie named her twin daughters after two people very dear to her who had recently passed away, Susan after her late partner, and the other Samuelle, after her father.
Becoming a mother hasn’t slowed Annie down, but it has given her a different perspective on her work, “Being a mom yourself, you sort of get it,” she says of her photos of famous mothers like Angelina Jolie and Katie Homes. Recently Annie photographed a breathtaking ad campaign for Disney’s Year of a Million Dreams. Her pictures feature Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella, complete with Harry Winston tiara, and the tag line “Where every Cinderella story comes true”, David Beckham as Prince Charming, white horse and all, proclaiming “Where imagination saves the day”, just to name a few.
A Photographer’s Life is the first of Annie’s works that portrays not only her trademark celebrity photos, but also those from her own personal collection. Annie simply describes A Photographer’s Life as “just a look at my life in the last 15 years.” Yet this Annie emphasized in A Photographer’s Life, that being a photographer isn’t separate from being a mother, lover, and woman. Therefore she chose to include pictures of her mother playing in the ocean, her late father, Annie herself pregnant and nude, and intimate portraits of Susan. The result is an unquestionably moving, heart-wrenching look at life, death, and everything in between. Annie’s future work will undoubtedly be just as sincere, to expect anything less would be an insult to this artist.
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” -Annie Leibovitz