BUSTED: What Ever Happened To Annie Leibovitz?


NEW YORK MAGAZINE:  Despite being a compulsive perfectionist whose shoots cost a fortune to produce, Leibovitz was very much in demand. People spoke of a fabled “contract for life” from Condé Nast, thought to bring her as much as $5 million annually. (The estimate didn’t seem far-fetched; a decade ago, the Times reported that Condé Nast chairman Si Newhouse had instructed Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter not to “nickel and dime” Leibovitz over the issue of an extra quarter-million dollars in her contract.) She was said to earn a day rate of $250,000 just to set foot in a studio for an advertising job for clients like Louis Vuitton. Over the years, Leibovitz had bought and sold a small fortune in real estate—a penthouse in Chelsea with a photo studio nearby, a sprawling townhouse in Greenwich Village, a compound in Rhinebeck once owned by the Astor family, and a Paris pied-à-terre overlooking the Seine. Virtually anyone (the Queen of England, for instance) would agree to be photographed by her, and she had a longtime relationship with the celebrated writer and intellectual Susan Sontag. Lately, however, Leibovitz’s life had taken a decidedly dark turn. Her reference to “tough times” was significantly understated. In the past five years, Sontag and both of Leibovitz’s parents have died. Her debts now total a staggering $24 million, consolidated with one lender with whom she is engaged in a lawsuit and due in September. If she can’t meet that deadline, she may lose her homes and the rights to her life’s body of work. MORE

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