Inspiration

Annie Leibovitz publishes a new book

Annie Leibovitz has just published a new book of her photographs from Taschen, which weighs 57 pounds

A publisher of art books, TASCHEN presents a limited edition book of photographs by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz - 10,000 sumo-sized copies. The book is over two and a half feet tall and weighs 57 pounds so it comes with its own Marc Newson-designed stand.

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The Collector's Edition is available in four different dust jackets - with portraits of artist Keith Haring, actress Whoopi Goldberg, "godmother of punk" Patti Smith and the founder of Talking Heads David Byrne.

The edition is coming with an essay book, written by actor Steve Martin, editor of Vanity Fair Graydon Carter, critic and art historian Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator Paul Roth and Annie Leibovitz herself. The short texts describing the subjects of each of the 400 photographs were provided by Sharon Delano, who writes for The New Yorker and who edited earlier books of Annie Leibovitz.

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The new edition by Taschen contains 400 photographs, many of which are being published for the first time. Majority of the photos are those of various musicians, actors and politicians, taken by Annie throughout her 40-year career.

Benedikt Taschen about the book:
The year is 1984 and the company – still trading as Taschen Comics – makes its first foray into the art book market: with a monograph on … Annie Leibovitz! Yes, even as a young hipster I was a diehard fan and admirer of Annie’s work and here was the proof. Fast-forward to the year 2000: Helmut Newton’s monumental SUMO has been out for a year, making media headlines around the world and opening exciting new doors for the company.
In the meantime, Helmut had also become a close friend and mentor, so one day I asked him, “In a perfect world and just in case we were ever to consider publishing another SUMO-size book on a photographer, who would you say would qualify?”
And Helmut responded with the names of two photographers he admired and held in hight esteem, both of whom happened to be on my own list (a two name list, actually): Sebastiao Salgado and Annie Leibovitz.

Shortly afterwards, I contacted both of them. In 2001, I travelled to Paris to visit Lelia and Sebastiao and I started wooing Annie Leibovitz with numerous letters and emails to her studio in New York. The Salgados, instead of a retrospective, suggested a new project; an adventure which would unravel in Sebastiao’s mind and take almost 10 years to carry out, Genesis. Wow!
What a feeling when the Suddeutsche Zeitung called it “the most ambitious project in the history of photography”!

Then, in 2009, after many attempts, we finally got the green light from Annie, who said quite simply “yes, let’s do it, I’m ready for the SUMO.”
And now here it is.

Annie started doing photography in the late 60-ties. In 1970 she was hired as a photographer for the magazine Rolling Stone and switched to Vanity Fair in 1983. Among her most famous works are the portraits of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken five hours before death of the “beatle”, members of the band “Rolling Stones”, actors Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis and his then pregnant wife Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Meryl Streep, artists Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, Queen Elizabeth II and many other famous people. She photographed for Vogue.

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