Annie Leibovitz has photographed some of the most famous faces of our time, creating iconic portraits in her work for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Gap, American Express and others. The images in A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005 go from color to black-and-white, landscape to portraiture, artists (Baryshnikov, Welty, Avedon) to revolutionaries (Mandela, Bill Gates), Hollywood to war-torn Sarajevo. Leibovitz makes frequent use of four-panel spreads, especially when documenting her family. Sometimes, however, one photograph is enough: waves crashing into the Havana shore; Philip Johnson at his Glass House; a portrait of Susan Sontag, Leibovitz's companion, with cropped white hair melting into a thick black turtleneck. Intimate photos of Sontag working, breakfasting in Venice, coping with and finally succumbing to cancer punctuate the years chronicled in A Photographer's Life.
A companion exhibition to the book opened at the Brooklyn Museum in October and a documentary about Leibovitz (directed by her sister Barbara) will air on PBS' American Masters series in January. After emotionally draining years during which Leibovitz lost both her father and Sontag and then celebrated the birth of twins, it's a particularly apt time for a retrospective of her life and career.