NPJ Book Review: Annie Leibovitz at Work (1949 – 2008) By Annie Leibovitz

Book Review for NPJ by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC, Contributing Editor


“Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself. “ Annie Leibovitz

Compelling and engaging to say the least. This is the story of my favorite photographer who climbed her way to becoming a remarkable and acclaimed icon. Leibovitz started out working for Rolling Stone magazine, an independent minded, upstart ragduring the late 1960’s and through the 1970’s that was published in San Francisco, and I was a fan. I was all about the world of rock n’ roll, but that’s another story for another time. 

This book is written chronologically. Introduced by Ms. Leibovitz about Ms. Leibovitz, herself. She grew up in a large family that was accustomed to moving from place to place.  Annie’s father was a career Air Force Officer, living on or near several different air force bases. While visiting her family in Japan, Annie picked up a camera, a Minolta SRT-101, and climbed Mt. Fuji. And there we have it, her first venture into the world of photography.  That adventure appeared to have opened her eyes and look through a lens.  As a third=year student that majored in painting at the San Francisco Art Institute she began taking various workshops and night classes in photography.  Shortly after her pictures began to splash the pages of Rolling Stone.   

She takes us with her as she finds her purpose in the art and skill of photography, investing her talent while creating history with her documentation of the anti war rallies in both San Francisco and Berkely, CA. Eventually one of those same pictures appeared on a June cover of Rolling Stone. That December, she accompanied Jann Wenner to New York City ( Jann Simon Wenner is an American magazine magnate and is the co-founder and publisher of the popular culture magazine Rolling Stone) who was interviewing John Lennon where she took one of his most famous portraits that appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone. Annie knew very little about rock n’ roll and the world she was about to embark on.

In 1973, she was named as “chief photographer” of that same magazine. She went on tour with The Rolling Stones. She photographed Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Annie resigned from the magazine, and in 1983 became the very first contributing photographer for the new Vanity Fair. From there her career continued to escalate. Now, that’s an interesting beginning if you like photography, as much as I do. Anyone who knows anything about photography knows who Annie Leibovitz is.

Her work is and has been exciting and interesting. In 2007 Ms. Leibovitz was commissioned to take the official portrait of Queen Elizabeth.  

As a talented and gifted photographer, she learned the art of collaboration with her performance art and subjects.  That’s what makes her so unique. She magnifies and brings life to her work. Annie tells us it’s a photo session. As she is studied and prepared, you will follow her through her journey from the early years at Rolling Stone to the year 2008. 



Annie Leibovitz is a creative artist, and if you love photography as I do, she is an extraordinary maven in the field of images.