Over the past four decades of her career, Annie Leibovitz
one of the world’s best-known portrait photographers, now rivaling the legacies
of forebears like Richard Avedon
and David Bailey
began as a photojournalist at Rolling Stone
in 1970, eventually serving
as the magazine’s chief photographer until 1983. As a staff photographer at Vanity
and, still later, contributor to Vogue
, she developed a comprehensive
body of work—featuring actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and
business and political figures—that make up a collective portrait of
contemporary cultural and intellectual life.
This rare autumn exhibition
at Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Singapore encompasses 38 large-scale prints in both color and black and white,
and showcases Leibovitz’s most enduring work since the 1970s. Select subjects
include Meryl Streep, Andy Warhol, Angelina Jolie, Julian Schnabel, Yo-Yo Ma,
Carl Lewis, the Dalai Lama, and Queen Elizabeth II. Shot in various modes and
evolving styles more sympathetic to the idiosyncrasies of her sitters than any
overriding aesthetic vision, Leibovitz’s portraits are at once iconic,
idiosyncratic, and intimate. She consistently captures the personal character
of often very public figures—from the nude artist gleefully painted in a camouflage
pattern of his own design (Keith Haring, New York City, 1986
) to the
comedian riotously disappearing into a bath of warm whole milk (Whoopi
Goldberg, Berkeley, California, 1984
). Leibovitz has said
your photograph taken involves a performance, portraits particularly. The
photographer provides the subjects with a stage—but then they have to project.
You are taking a real picture in real time no matter how conceptual it is.
There is a reality in the performance.”
Also included are images from her recent series of still lifes,
“Pilgrimage,” which she considers as a sort of inanimate portraiture. The
delicately conserved page shown in Emily Dickinson's Herbarium, Houghton
Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2010), for example,
stands in for the nineteenth-century American poet herself.
All photographs on view are match prints that Leibovitz produced
while finishing a limited edition book of photographs published by Taschen
earlier this year. The exhibition also runs concurrently with the travelling
retrospective “Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005,” at the
ArtScience Museum at the Marina Bay Sands.
Leibovitz” is on view at Sundaram Tagore, Singapore,
Sept. 12th–Oct. 12th, 2014.