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Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005 at the Legion of Honor

Exhibition dates: March 1–May 25, 2008
Press preview: Friday, February 29, 2008, 9:30 am

San Francisco—Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005, on view from March 1 to May 25, 2008, presents a retrospective of Leibovitz’s professional photographs as well as those she has taken of her family and close friends, and thus views a full “photographer’s life.” For decades, Leibovitz has captured the icons of popular culture with her award-winning photography for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. As Leibovitz says: “I don’t have two lives. This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.”

A Photographer’s Life
was organized by the Brooklyn Museum, New York, and is sponsored by American Express®.  San Francisco is the final U.S. venue before the exhibition tours overseas.

Over 200 photographs are included in the exhibition, among them are portraits of the pregnant Demi Moore, Nelson Mandela in Soweto, and George W. Bush in the White House; searing photojournalism from the siege of Sarajevo; and haunting landscapes from the American West and Jordan. Leibovitz’s personal material reflects her talents in a way that differs from her public work, as demonstrated in the candid images of her parents and siblings, her three daughters, and her close friends.
Leibovitz documents birth, death, family life, celebrations, and nature. Using keen observational skills to craft her work, she approaches a subject with a personal point of view.  All of the images in the exhibition are included in the accompanying book of the same title published by Random House.
One of the most celebrated photographers of our time, Leibovitz has made witty, powerful images documenting American popular culture since the early 1970s. She started taking pictures in the late 1960s when she was studying painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, and she had her first photographs published by Rolling Stone in 1970.  She became the magazine’s chief photographer in 1973.  Ten years later Leibovitz began working for Vanity Fair, and then Vogue, creating a legendary body of work.  In addition to her magazine work, Leibovitz has created influential advertising campaigns for American Express, the Gap, Givenchy, The Sopranos, and the Milk Board. A retrospective of her work from the years 1970 to 1990 was presented at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and at the International Center of Photography in New York.
Leibovitz is the recipient of many honors, including the rank of Commandeur in the French government’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Barnard College Medal of Distinction.  She was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000 and one of the 35 Innovators of Our Time by Smithsonian magazine in 2005.
Charlotta Kotik, the John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator Emeritus of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, is the curator of the exhibition.  The coordinating curator at the Legion of Honor is Karin Breuer, Acting Curator-in-Charge of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts.  Local sponsors RBC Dain Rauscher and the Gap make the San Francisco presentation possible.  Jim and Dana Tananbaum, Maurice W. Gregg, Marie and George Hecksher, The John and Lisa Pritzker Family Fund, and Paul Sack and Shirley Davis provide additional support.