Annie Leibovitz to Photograph Women Worldwide Including Caitlyn Jenner

The renowned photographer announced her global exhibition project in London.

Annie Leibovitz with her children, Sarah, Susan and Samuelle Rhinebeck, New York, 2015
Photo: ©Annie Leibovitz.

Annie Leibovitz has announced that she will be extending her landmark Women project and exhibiting the photographs in 10 countries worldwide, starting in London in January 2016.

Although only one photograph from the project was released yesterday—showing the American artist with her children—Leibovitz did confirm that the new images from the Women series will include portraits of Venus and Serena Williams, Amy Schumer with her sister Kim Caramele, Misty Copeland, and Caitlyn Jenner. (Leibovitz previously shot Jenner’s first portraits as a woman for Vanity Fair, photos later appropriated by aspiring artist Miley Cyrus.)

Speaking at a press conference at London’s Somerset House yesterday morning, Leibovitz recalled feeling that when she started the project—an idea of her partner Susan Sontag that culminated in a 1999 book—she felt it was too broad a subject to cover.

“But we started working on it…. The idea was to show women, what we look like and the role we play, and it was interesting because the accumulation of the photographs was a big surprise,” she said. “This project really holds up extremely well. It was an unending project, it goes on and on.”

The project is still being photographed and, following its launch in January 2016, will tour cities including Istanbul, Tokyo, Mexico City, Singapore, and New York.

“It really is a pop-up show, it really is down and dirty,” the famous photographer told artnet News. “It’s an opportunity to show the original work, and work I have done since the Women book, it’s probably over 400 images all together.”

Annie Leibovitz, New York City (2004)Photo: (c) Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz, New York City (2004)
Photo: (c) Annie Leibovitz

“Women: New Portraits” will thus include works from the 1999 iteration, which featured portraits of Cindy Sherman, Agnes Martin, Patti Smith, Louise Bourgeois, and Yoko Ono.

The rebirth of the project came when Leibovitz was commissioned to photograph an advertising project for the Swiss Financial Services company UBS. While working on the campaign, Hubertus Kuelps, the company’s head of communications and branding, approached Leibovitz with the idea working on a larger project.

“I said I’d really like to extend or update the women’s project,” Leibovitz explained. “It’s not as though I haven’t been taking pictures of women since the project ended in 1999, but to have a commission to take photographs of subjects I really cared about and to be given this kind of opportunity was extraordinary.”

Although the complete list will remain under wraps until the opening of the exhibition in January, Leibovitz revealed that her colleagues at Vogue magazine helped select her subjects.

Leibovitz also spoke about how, this time around, rather than having to search for women to photograph—a female teacher, or soldier, for example—finding professional subjects for the project was more accessible. “We really are much more out there, there really is more diversity out there,” she said.

Watch a teaser for the exhibition here:

Women: New Portraits” will be on view at London’s Wapping Hydraulic Power Station from January 16–February 7, 2016.


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