The celebrated American photographer Annie Leibovitz is primarily known today as a portraitist, who revolutionised the genre of portrait photography with her original and iconic depictions of many of the world’s most beloved cultural figures. But her portfolio also includes a broad collection of fashion photography, landscapes, and personal reportage from her long career.
Meet the first IKEA Artist in Residence: Annie Leibovitz
Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute – her first major assignment was for a cover story on John Lennon. By the time she left the magazine, 10 years later, her work was widely known and included her memorable accounts of the resignation of United States President, Richard Nixon, and also the 1975 Rolling Stones tour of the US and Canada.
At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, she developed a large body of work—portraits of actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs—that expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life.
Several collections of her work have been published, and exhibitions of her photographs have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world.
She is the recipient of many prestigious honours. In a 2005 compilation of the 40 top magazine covers of the past 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), she held the top two spots – number one for the photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken for Rolling Stone the day Lennon was shot, and number two for the pregnant Demi Moore in Vanity Fair.
Other recognitions include the International Center of Photography’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, the 2012 Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts, and she has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.
In January 2023, Leibovitz became the first IKEA Artist in Residence. This collaboration will see her document the reality of life for real people in their homes around the world. As a photographer who has always preferred lived-in environments to the studio, she is perfectly suited to step into the role of IKEA Artist in Residence, with the goal of shedding light on insights captured by the annual IKEA Life at Home Report.
Throughout the duration of the project, she will use her lens to illuminate the lives of people around the world. Her ability to capture truths that are generally hidden or ignored equips her ideally to explore aspects of the way we live.