NY Magazine has a well reported story by Andrew Goldman on the financial predicament Annie Leibovitz finds herself in today. There’s some awesome quotes in the story referencing her legendary temper and insecure perfectionism but the financial meltdown is simply astounding to read about.
No matter what you think of Annie’s pictures today she’s clearly a very talented photographer, has long been a pioneer in this industry and deserves some level of respect from everyone. But, of course these quotes are too juicy not to republish:
[…]Her bloated work expenses were a chronic concern. Anthony Accardi, Leibovitz’s onetime printer, recalls that jobs were often rushed, like the time he had to show up to a lab at 3 a.m. to pick up film of Bill Clinton and have work prints ready by 7 a.m., a job so hurried that he billed Condé Nast three times his regular rate. Accardi was stunned by the number of work prints Leibovitz would order, and apparently so was Condé Nast. After Accardi printed 300 oversize work prints of a Roseanne Barr shoot and billed Vanity Fair some $15,000, he received a letter from Graydon Carter himself, informing him that after this job, he’d be paid for no more than 50 such prints. “Like I was going to tell Annie that?” Accardi says with a laugh. “She would’ve boxed my ears.”
Eccles says Leibovitz could be downright tyrannical. “I once narrowly escaped being hit by a pair of shoes,” he says. “To this day, I’ve never been as nervous photographing a subject as I have assisting her. And that includes the several times I’ve been sent to the White House.” Leibovitz, Eccles says, once slammed her fists on a table, swearing she was going to kill him after a lighting test hadn’t gone well. “Go ahead, hit me,” Eccles said. He was by then so accustomed to the behavior, he says, that he didn’t flinch. “You’re not afraid of me,” Leibovitz lamented, skulking off. “It’s not fun anymore.” After her outbursts, Eccles says, Leibovitz would almost always call and apologize. Still, he left on good terms. “I adore Annie,” he says. “I’ll go to the mat for her as the greatest photographer there ever was in any genre.”
[…]In 2007, Leibovitz agreed to take Tina Brown’s portrait for her Princess Diana biography. “I thought she would just take a snap at my home,” Brown says. Leibovitz insisted that the shoot be on the beach near Brown’s summer home in Quogue, even though it was March and freezing. Leibovitz showed up in a van with a stylist and assistant. A second car stuffed full of clothes soon arrived. A wind machine would eventually be engaged. This was all on Leibovitz’s dime; she refused to charge Brown a cent. Unsatisfied with the day’s work, Leibovitz suggested that they try again the next day. “We’re through!” Brown told her, appreciative but worn out. “She’s a massive perfectionist,” Brown says, “and absolutely doesn’t care about the impact on her own bottom line.”
[…]Leibovitz has to come up with $24 million, plus interest, by this September. Under the terms of the agreement, says a person familiar with the loan, Art Capital could be entitled to up to 22.5 percent of all the proceeds from the sale of any of Leibovitz’s work—even for two years after she’s paid off the loan. And that percentage could increase to close to 50 percent if she were to default.
Read the entire story on the NYMag website (here).