In his recent manifesto, Jörg Colberg takes aim at three prominent photographers for their "visual propaganda."
That said, what are the “identical” mechanisms Colberg suggests that link these artists to their socialist-realist predecessors? Leibovitz, Crewdson, and Gursky produce a kind of capitalist propaganda that, like socialist realism, “does not aim to depict an actually existing reality but instead presents a code that can be read by its intended spectators.” Colberg derives his description of socialist realism from art historian Boris Groys, who suggests that this code entails stories about heroes, demons, transcendental events, and real-world consequences that serve the messaging needs of the powerful. In this formulation, Colberg’s neoliberal realists make images that perpetuate, or even celebrate, unjust power structures.
The Annie Leibovitz story, however, is more than a tale of a photographer who got absorbed into the high-spending world of the people she portrays. It is a reflection of something unexpected – that, despite all her celebrity and talent, Leibovitz lacks earning power as an artist.
Buried in today's reports about another lawsuit against Annie Leibovitz is the shocking fact that her debt has ballooned to $40 million. In other words, Leibovitz has gone from being waist deep in the jaws of a shark to neck deep. It will be a miracle if she manages to pull herself out without losing her image archive.
Brunswick Capital Partners has filed a suit against her in New York State Supreme Court, saying that she owes the firm several hundred thousand dollars in fees for its recent role in locating investors who have helped her restructure her debt, Reuters reported.
Annie Leibovitz is selling limited editions and weighing book deals in an effort to regain control of her homes and the copyrights to her work.
Three months after averting, at least temporarily, a foreclosure that could have cost her the rights to her photographs and her homes, Annie Leibovitz is assembling an array of deals in an effort to regain her financial footing.
Art Capital Dropping Lawsuit Against Annie Leibovitz
A statement issued Friday by both parties said Leibovitz has bought back control of her physical property—presumably including her two houses—and copyrights. Previously, Art Capital had said it had the right to sell Leibovitz’s homes and photo archive under the terms of the loan.
Photography's debt to Annie Leibovitz
Photography’s debt to Annie Leibovitz | Art and design | guardian.co.uk:
As celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz’s financial woes threaten to eclipse her career, it’s important to remember how much we owe to her pioneering work
PDNPulse: A Closer Look at the Annie Leibovitz Lavazza Case
PDNPulse: A Closer Look at the Annie Leibovitz Lavazza Case:
How similar are Pizzetti’s location shots to Leibovitz’s final images? We have some animated GIFs below comparing the photographs.
PDNPulse: Annie Leibovitz Sued over Lavazza Coffee Campaign
PDNPulse: Annie Leibovitz Sued over Lavazza Coffee Campaign:
Pizzetti said in the lawsuit he doesn’t think Leibovitz traveled to Italy for the campaign at all, according to the Bloomberg story.
The campaign was panned by other photographers. Mike Johnston on The Online Photographer called one of Leibovitz’s Lavazzo pictures “The Worst Photograph Ever Made.”
How Could Annie Leibovitz Be on the Verge of Financial Collapse?
How Could Annie Leibovitz Be on the Verge of Financial Collapse? — New York Magazine:
Annie Leibovitz clearly hated what a lifetime-achievement award implied about her—that the best days of her 40-year career were behind her. “Photography is not something you retire from,” the 59-year-old Leibovitz said from the stage, accepting the honor from the International Center of Photography last May at Pier 60. She was turned out in a simple black dress and glasses, her long straight hair a little unruly, as usual. Photographers, she said, “live to a very old age” and “work until the end.” She noted that Lartigue lived to be 92, Steichen 93, and Cartier-Bresson 94. “Irving Penn is going to be 92 next month, and he’s still working.” Then her tone turned rueful. “Seriously, though, this really is a big deal,” she said, hoisting her Infinity Award statuette, her voice quavering to the point where it seemed she might cry. “It means so much to me, you know, especially right now. It’s, it’s a very sweet award to get right now. I’m having some tough times right now, so … ”
Last fall, Annie Leibovitz, the photographer, borrowed $5 million from a company called Art Capital Group. In December, she borrowed $10.5 million more from the same firm. As collateral, among other items, she used town houses she owns in Greenwich Village, a country house, and something else: the rights to all of her photographs.
Mike Johnston, on his site The Online Photographer, has written a critique of what he calls “The Worst Photograph Ever Made.” It’s an image shot by Annie Leibovitz for the 2009 Lavazza espresso calendar. How bad is it? We’ll let the picture speak for itself:
“You can’t just say no to Annie.” That was part of the explanation given by 15-year-old superstar Miley Cyrus after photographs were made of her “backless” and clutching a blanket by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. (A VF behind-the-scenes shot is above.) “I think it’s really artsy,” she told the magazine at the time. “It wasn’t in a skanky way.”
But by yesterday, Cyrus was backtracking. “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed,” she said in a publicist’s statement. She further criticizes the magazine in a People article, as the more financially minded press mulls over the fallout expected to hit Cyrus’s Hanna Montana phenomenon and its parent company, Disney.
Rachel Cooke on the Annie Leibovitz film, Life Through a Lens | Art & Architecture | Guardian Unlimited Arts
There are lots of reasons why making a film about Annie Leibovitz, our most famous living photographer, may be a bit intimidating. For one thing, photography is essentially static, so how to bring it to life on screen? For another, Leibovitz has something of a reputation.
Graydon Carter, her boss at Vanity Fair, likens her to ‘Barbra Streisand with a camera’, which is possibly shorthand for ‘she’s a nightmare on legs!’ (I’m guessing that he isn’t referring to her singing.) Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, admits that, yes, Annie is demanding, that the idea of ‘budget is not something that enters into her consciousness’, before quickly adding that she is worth it because ‘she cares! she cares!’ Even Leibovitz’s flesh and blood, in this case, her sister Paula, confesses: ‘You don’t want to be anywhere near her when she’s taking pictures.’
In 1998 Ms. Sontag received a diagnosis of cancer, from which she recovered. Ms. Leibovitz took several months off to be with her. There are photographs of that period too, of Ms. Sontag receiving chemotherapy, having her hair cut. “You know, one doesn’t stop seeing,” Ms. Leibovitz said, when asked about her impulse to photograph illness. “One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.” In the middle of her Caesarean in 2001 she reached up with a camera to try to shoot the birth of her daughter, Sarah, over the curtain suspended across her midriff. “They’re all totally out of focus and terrible,” she laughed.
She photographed her father after his death in 2005. He was 91, had lung cancer and had driven a car until a week before. He died at home in bed, with hospice care, in his wife’s arms. The family kept his body in the bedroom all day, as children and, later, a rabbi arrived. Ms. Leibovitz photographed him there, his head on a flowered pillowcase, in pajamas with dark piping. “You find yourself reverting to what you know,” she said. “It’s almost like a protection of some kind. You go back into yourself. You don’t really know quite what you’re doing. I didn’t really analyze it. I felt driven to do it.”
She said, “My father was so beautiful lying there.”