Random House, 2005. First Edition.
A Photographer’s Life: 1990 – 2005 is as much about the well-known people that Leibovitz photographed as it is about the photographer herself. "I don't have two lives," she writes in the introduction. "This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it." Indeed, the volume puts into stark juxtaposition the public and the private world of Annie Leibovitz. Here we see mesmerizing portraits of Johnny Cash, Nicole Kidman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Keith Richards, Michael Jordan, Joan Didion, R2-D2, Patti Smith, Nelson Mandela, Jack Nicholson, River Phoenix, and Brad Pitt.
However, side-by-side those expensive “bread and butter” type photos made for Vogue and Vanity Fair are those of Leibowitz’s private life: most moving are those of her lover, Susan Sontag, in good times and in bad. The photos of Sontag’s struggle with cancer -- and her final days. We are suddenly thrown from glamour and fame to the crushing truth of death and illness. There is Leibovitz’s reportage from the bleakness and horror of Sarajevo in the 1990s. With each page, we learn that a photographer’s life is not that which is lived behind the lens but in the mind’s eye; the one that sees the unvarnished reality, the chiaroscuro of emotion that lies within all of us, no matter who we are.