When Benedikt Taschen asked the most important portrait photographer working today to collect her pictures in a SUMO-sized book, she was intrigued and challenged. The project took several years to develop and proved to be revelatory. Annie Leibovitz drew from over 40 years of work, starting with the viscerally intimate reportage she created for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s and extending through the more stylized portraiture of her work for Vanity Fair and Vogue. Celebrated images such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono entwined in a last embrace are printed alongside portraits that have rarely, and sometimes never before, been seen. Annie Leibovitz was able to present some of her famous group portraits in a format that proves that she is the master of the genre. Her pictures are at once intimate and iconic, wide-ranging stylistically and also uniquely hers. Annie Leibovitz is often imitated, particularly by younger photographers, but her work is somehow immediately recognizable.
The bookends of the Leibovitz collection are the black-and-white photograph of Richard Nixon’s helicopter lifting off from the White House lawn after he resigned as president in 1974 and the formal color portrait of Queen Elizabeth II taken in a drawing room of Buckingham Palace in 2007. In between are portraits that make up a family album of our time: actors, dancers, comedians, musicians, artists, writers, performance artists, journalists, athletes, businesspeople. Performance and power are recurring themes. 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 is available in four different covers:
- Whoopi Goldberg, Berkeley, California, 1984
- Keith Haring, New York City, 1986
- David Byrne, Los Angeles, 1986
- Patti Smith, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1978
Limited to a total of 10,000 signed and numbered copies, this book is available as Collector’s Edition (No. 1,001–10,000) and also as an Art Edition (No. 1–1,000) with a fine art print, signed by Annie Leibovitz, and the full set of all four covers.
Both editions come with a tripod book stand designed by Marc Newson.