The work of famed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz can be viewed at an exhibition in Tokyo until March 13. Titled “WOMEN: New Portraits,” the exhibition at a warehouse near Tokyo Bay in Koto-ku features 39 photos, including ballerina Misty Copeland, feminist Gloria Steinem and filmmaker Laura Poitras. Other photos with different themes are displayed on three large digital panels that change images every 10 seconds. The exhibition will be shown in 10 cities over the next 11 months. The tour started in London in January and moved to Tokyo in February. Other host cities include Singapore, Hong Kong, Frankfurt and Zurich. Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone magazine in 1970. She became the magazine’s chief photographer and stayed there for 10 years before transitioning to Vanity Fair. One of the most famous photos on display at the exhibit is one of a naked John Lennon embracing Yoko Ono, taken just a few hours before Lennon was shot. Another on display is “American Soldiers and Mary, Queen of the Negritos,” which was taken at Clark Air Base in the Philippines when Leibowitz’s father, Samuel, was stationed there in the 1960s as an Air Force officer. She snapped it while visiting her family during a summer break. “It’s one of the first photographs I took after I started to think I could take pictures,” Leibovitz said during a special viewing of the exhibit Feb. 17. “I lined them up like a family picture.” That summer, Annie bought her first serious camera, a Minolta SR-101. The first thing she did was to take it on a climb up Mount Fuji. “The camera felt like it weighed a ton. It was awkward,” she says in her book “My Work.” “When I got to the top I realized that the only film I had was the roll in the camera. . . . I photographed the sunrise with the two or three frames I had left.” Leibovitz has accumulated a wide range of portrait subjects, including presidents, Elizabeth II, athletes, artists, writers and entertainers. Her awards include a Grammy, ASMP Photographer of the Year and the Clio Award for advertising. She was also lauded as a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2000. During the Feb. 17 event, Leibovitz shared her feelings about several of the photos. When asked how she goes about preparing and actually taking a shot, she said sometimes she doesn’t have time to prepare, so she simply “goes for it.”
It’s a great exhibit, and it’s free. And who knows, maybe you’ll be able to speak with Annie Leibovitz herself!
The free exhibit is open seven days a week, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., through March 13. The exhibit is a five-minute walk from Shinonome Station on the Rinkai Line. Address: TOLOT/heuristic SHINONOME, 2-9-13 2F, Shinonome, Koto-ku