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The Courageous Choices of Annie Leibovitz

Photographer Annie Leibovitz | All photos by Susie Goodman

“The Early Years” curated by Leibovitz, features more than 5,000 photographs taken between 1970-1983. Works on view trace Leibovitz’s development as a young talent capturing the dramatic cultural and political changes of the seventies. The exhibition highlights the courageous choices that enabled her artistic growth and future successes. Arranged chronologically and thematically, the exhibition starts with her work for Rolling Stone Magazine and goes through defining moments and key protagonists of the decade. It concludes with photos from the late 70s and early 80s of friends, lovers, children and other personal markers. She chronicled a seminal era in American history. Pinned to the walls gridded with string show her talent to meld portraiture and photojournalism with humanism and wit. KUSC’s Sheila Tepper discussed this momentous exhibition with Annie Leibovitz.

Leibovitz photographs Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rob Besserer. On the wall are photographs of Mark Morris.

Sheila Tepper: Even though the exhibit is called “The Early Years,” you can’t go back, can you?

Annie Leibovitz: No, you can’t go back all the way, but you can certainly learn from it. That’s what’s important, that you learn from it. And also it’s so great to share with these young kids. A New York Times photographer came to photograph me. She was very young and it was really cool to see that next generation doing such great work.

Photographs of Andy Warhol, a personal hero of Annie Leibovitz

Leibovitz documents The Rolling Stones tour of the Americas in the Summer of 1975

Sheila Tepper: Isn’t it thrilling to you to see this work?

Annie Leibovitz: It is. I can stand outside of myself and see this young girl doing it. I’m not that person now, but I look at who that person was and I’ve been so lucky. I’ve had this incredible career and I feel more responsible to it than ever. I’m going to go out with a camera in my hands.

On August 9, 1974 Leibovitz records Nixon and his helicopter as it takes off from the White House Lawn

“Annie Leibovitz. The Early Years, 1970 – 1983: Archive Project No. 1” runs February 14 through April 14, 2019 at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery. Find out more at

Written by:
Sheila Tepper
Sheila Tepper
Published on 04.01.2019