ANNIE LEIBOVITZ, noted American portrait photographer born. Her style is marked by a close collaboration between the photographer and the subject. Leibovitz had a romantic relationship with noted writer and essayist Susan Sontag. They met in 1990, when both had already established notability in their careers. Leibovitz has suggested that Sontag mentored her and constructively criticized her work.
After Sontag’s death in 2004, Newsweek published an article about Leibovitz that made reference to her decade-plus relationship with Sontag, stating that “The two first met in the late ’80s, when Leibovitz photographed her for a book jacket. They never lived together, though they each had an apartment within view of the other’s.”
Neither Leibovitz nor Sontag had ever previously publicly disclosed whether the relationship was familial, a friendship, or romantic in nature. However, when Leibovitz was interviewed for her 2006 book A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005, she said the book told a number of stories, and that “with Susan, it was a love story”.
In the preface to the new book, she speaks in greater detail about her romantic/intellectual relationship with Sontag and her Lesbianism, briefly discussing a book they were working on together and describes how assembling her new book was part of the grieving process after Sontag’s death. Leibovitz acknowledged that she and the late Sontag were romantically involved. When asked why she used terms like “companion” to describe Sontag, instead of more specific ones like “partner” or “lover”, Leibovitz finally said that “lover” was fine with her. She later repeated the assertion in stating to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Call us ‘lovers’. I like ‘lovers.’ You know, ‘lovers’ sounds romantic. I mean, I want to be perfectly clear. I love Susan.”