Yesterday I headed to the National Portrait Gallery to get a sneak preview of their newest exhibit entitled 'Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life'. Leibovitz is one of the world's best portrait photographers working today and this retrospective documents her work between 1990 and 2005. It's a touring exhibition that has already been shown in New York and Paris and will next travel to Berlin.
The most intriguing aspect of this retrospective is the mixture of personal and private work which is on display. Annie decided to do this because she wanted it to be a true reflection of her life over that fifteen year period. If you're not familiar with the name Annie Leibovitz then you'll definitely be familiar with her work. Her work includes a Louis Vuitton ad campagin, the infamous naked image of a pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair and many shoots for magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.
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If you saw (and liked) the Vanity Fair exhibition earlier this year then you may have already seen some of the key images but its great to see all of Leibovitz's work together. The exhibition has now started and runs until 1st February 2009 so even if you're not based in London it gives you plenty of time to get to the capital to check it out.
There are some truly beautiful professional images including an amazing Johnny Depp and Kate Moss portrait from the early '90s and theatrical shots of Nicole Kidman. There are also some very sad images from Leibovitz's personal life such as the documenting of her close friend Susan Sontag's illness and the death of her father.
The exhibition ends with a mood board of smaller images from throughout the fifteen year period. Some are repeated in larger format in the exhibition and some show an insight in to the workings of the photographer. If you ever caught Alan Yentob's documentary on Leibovitz then you will have witnessed the putting together of this mood board.