Annie Leibovitz bought her first camera after her freshman year at the San Francisco Art Institute, and while still a student, she approached ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine – just three years after its inception – with a few of her photographs. She soon embarked on what would develop into a symbiotic relationship between the young photographer and a magazine that became famous for reflecting the American zeitgeist. The gallery’s exhibition begins with photographs taken during this formative time in Northern California and is punctuated by images of the Bay Area landscape and photographs shot during drives Leibovitz often took between San Francisco and Los Angeles; these are accompanied by selected iconic fashion images from the first two decades of her career.
These rarely seen images from Leibovitz’s early years trace the photographer’s development from the start of her career, capturing the dramatic cultural and political shifts of the 70s and early 80s. These powerful images reveal her singular ability to merge the tactics of portraiture and photojournalism with profound humanism.
The display of works taken during her thirteen-year tenure at ‘Rolling Stone’ blurred the lines between celebrity and civilian, interviewer and interviewee, artist and subject, dissolving the boundary separating Leibovitz from her subjects.