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Seriously Uncool

Jenny Diski: Susan Sontag

22 March 2007
At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches 
edited by Paolo Dilonardo and Anne Jump, preface by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 235 pp., £18.99, April 2007, 978 0 241 14371 1
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A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005 
by Annie Leibovitz.
Cape, 480 pp., £60, October 2006, 0 224 08063 6
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... and also to relish it, drawing on the very developed habits of irony that are affirmed by the surreal juxtapositions of photographs typical of sophisticated exhibitions and books’. I suppose that AnnieLeibovitz, Susan Sontag’s partner for her last 15 years, is in one sense of the word as sophisticated a photographer as you get these days. She’s a celebrity snapper and shoots for fashion ...

In for the Kill

Inigo Thomas: Photographing Cricket

16 August 2017
... taking his picture – or not caring. The invisibility of the photographer is a central Eagar principle: ‘A photograph should be like a Cartier-Bresson moment, something you observe, not a reaction AnnieLeibovitz style between the subject and the photographer. A lot of it is fashion I guess. Certainly these days, I find myself getting the subject to stare at the camera, because people expect it ...

Tunnel Vision

Jenny Diski: Princess Diana

2 August 2007
The Diana Chronicles 
by Tina Brown.
Century, 481 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 1 84605 286 6
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by Sarah Bradford.
Penguin, 443 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 14 027671 8
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... full list of books ‘that have enriched this one’ takes up four pages. And, doubtless with great relief because photo booths are so often out of order, she thanks, too, ‘the gifted photographer AnnieLeibovitz’, who ‘with her usual generosity insisted on taking the portrait the publisher required for my book jacket’. In addition to all this, Brown has years of journalistic experience to ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides

24 October 2019
Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... in portraits by Peter Hujar (whose photographs line the inside cover of Moser’s book like a wall of publicity stills), Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, and, later, her partner AnnieLeibovitz. Sontag’s post-cancer skunk-stripe hair made her instantly spottable. For those hitting the right places in Manhattan, Sontag sightings were as recurring and oddly reassuring as Warhol ...

At the V&A

Marina Warner: Alexander McQueen

3 June 2015
... shows that reverberated with the beautiful and damned themes of the YBAs, and he shared many compass points – martyrdom, decay, hell, wild animals – with them. A group photograph taken in 2000 by AnnieLeibovitz shows McQueen in a lighter mood, playing with his dogs while his studio team and friends look on; Isabella Blow and the Chapman Brothers are there, and Sam Taylor-Wood (as was), as well as ...


Iain Sinclair

6 June 1996
... around the flying buttress of that magnificently medieval nose. If anyone should be in the Nike ads, it’s Gregory. He’s the only pensioned Beat still using well-hiked trainers. Look at the AnnieLeibovitz spread in Vanity Fair, a row of brilliantly varnished hoofs – and Corso sockless in scuffed white casuals. Footwear is an important element in the Corso creed. ‘Don’t take off your shoes ...

Nothing Natural

Jenny Turner: SurrogacyTM

13 January 2020
Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism against Family 
by Sophie Lewis.
Verso, 216 pp., £14.99, May 2019, 978 1 78663 729 1
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Making Kin Not Population 
edited by Adele Clarke and Donna Haraway.
Prickly Paradigm, 120 pp., £10, July 2018, 978 0 9966355 6 1
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... as gently as they can, in the humans they rear on reservations for the purpose. It probably doesn’t help that the IPs we get to hear about are usually the celebrities: Elton John and David Furnish; AnnieLeibovitz; Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Surrogacy is one of those subjects on which ‘colour-blind – white – feminism’ tends not to mince words. ‘A human-rights violation’, the ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives

4 May 2016
... Stryker explains, with ‘a heteroglossic outpouring of gender positions from which to speak’. These are not, however, the versions of trans that make the news. At the end of her photo session with AnnieLeibovitz, Jenner looked at the gold medal she had won as Bruce Jenner in the 1976 Olympic decathlon, and commented as ‘her eyes rimmed red and her voice grew soft’: ‘That was a good day. But ...

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