Annie Leibovitz exhibition hits Tokyo

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Photo courtesy of   Misty Copeland, New York City,  2015 © Annie Leibovitz from WOMEN: New Portraits
Photo courtesy of Misty Copeland, New York City, 2015 © Annie Leibovitz from WOMEN: New Portraits

Annie Leibovitz exhibition hits Tokyo

by: Norio Muroi | .
Stripes Japan | .
published: February 25, 2016

The work of famed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz can be viewed at an exhibition being held in Tokyo until March 13.

Titled “WOMEN: New Portraits,” the exhibition at a warehouse near Tokyo Bay in Koto-ku features 39 photos of women, including Misty Copeland, Gloria Steinem and Laura Poitras. Other photos with different themes are displayed on three large digital panels that switch out photos every 10 seconds.

The exhibition will be shown in 10 cities over the next 11 months. The tour started in London in January and moved to Tokyo this month. Other host cities include San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, New York and Zurich.

Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone magazine in 1970. She became the magazine’s chief photographer and stayed there for 10 years before transitioning to Vanity Fair.

One of special photos on display at the exhibit is one of a naked John Lennon embracing Yoko Ono, taken just a few hours before Lennon was shot.

Another one is “American Soldiers and Mary, Queen of the Negritos” which was taken at Clark Air Base in the Philippines when her father, Samuel, was stationed there in the 1960s as an Air Force officer. She snapped the shot while visiting her family during summer break.

“It’s one of the first photographs I took after I started to think I could take pictures,” Leibovitz during a special viewing of the exhibit Feb. 17. “I lined them up like a family picture.”

During that same summer, Annie bought her first real camera in Japan, a Minolta SR-101. The first thing she did was take it on a climb up Mount Fuji with some of her brothers and sisters.

“The camera felt like it weighted a ton. It was awkward. It got heavier the higher we went,” she is says in her book “My Work.” “When I got to the top I realized that the only film I had was the roll in the camera. I hadn’t thought much about the film situation. I photographed the sunrise with the two or three frames I had left.”

Those who are not familiar with her name, may be familiar with another one of her cover photos: a pregnant and nude Demi Moore gracefully covering her breasts and cradling her belly.

Leibovitz was born in 1949, in Waterbury, Conn., the third of six children. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1970. She accumulated a wide range of portrait subjects over the years, including several presidents, Elizabeth II, athletes, artists, writers, entertainers. She has won several notable awards, including a Grammy, ASMP Photographer of the Year and the Clio Award for advertising. She was also lauded as a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2000.

During the Feb. 17 viewing, Leibovitz shared her feelings about several of the photos. When asked how she goes about preparing and actually taking a shot, she said sometimes she doesn’t have time to prepare, so she simply “goes for it.” 

It’s a great exhibit and it’s free. And who knows, maybe you’ll be able to speak with Annie Leibovitz herself!

muroi.norio@stripes.com

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