Photographers are a dime a dozen. Good photographers on the other hand stand out as they’ve worked extremely hard to be successful and it’s very rare outside of a life long career. If you are a pro photographer or an aspiring pro do read on. I started to get cold sweaty palms after reading the sad and lengthy piece in New York Magazine.

Leibovitz in front of her More Demi Moore Vanity Fair cover photo, 2008. Image from Wikipedia

Leibovitz in front of her More Demi Moore Vanity Fair cover photo, 2008. Image from Wikipedia

I’ve always looked upon photos with elaborate sets in awe especially those captured by Annie Leibovitz, a perfectionist in her own right. The attention to details are amazing to say the least. Even if there was something out of place in the composition it was probably planned that way.

I would never have thought in my wildest imagination that Ms. Leibovitz with her great projects, that most of us can only marginally dream about, would hit staggering debt. Now, with her body of work being used as collateral.

“Leibovitz was born in 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. Her father, Sam, joined the Air Force after an unsuccessful stint in the fashion business. Her mother, Marilyn, was a dancer who had once performed with Martha Graham. Right after Leibovitz graduated from high school, the family moved to the Philippines. Sam wanted his 17-year-old daughter to stay close by and attend the University of the Philippines. Anna Lou, the name her family still uses to address her, had other ideas. The six-foot-tall girl, seemingly composed of all knees, elbows, and glasses, packed off for the Bay Area, where her sister Susan lived. In 1967, Leibovitz enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute as a painting major, hoping to eventually teach art. Instead, she fell in love with photography, and in 1970 a boyfriend persuaded her to submit pictures she’d taken for a class—police in riot gear, Allen Ginsberg at a peace rally—to Rolling Stone, then just three years old. It took only three years after that for Jann Wenner to install her on the masthead as “chief photographer” alongside the likes of Hunter S. Thompson.”, August 16, 2009, Andrew Goldman, New York Magazine.

Photography after all is a subjective art form but once you enter the pro side then you’ve got the business end to tackle with. And, it’s always easier said than done. Tread lightly, because at the end of the day, a beautifully composed and processed image will not put food on the table. It will definitely be a great accomplishment in ones career but it would not amount to a successful business.

Image by Annie Leibovitz for Lavazza 2009 Calendar

Image by Annie Leibovitz for Lavazza 2009 Calendar

I could rant and type on and on but I’d much rather you read “How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz? The 24 Million Question”, by Andrew Goldman from New York Magazine. The piece describes in detail the career ups and downs of a great photographer. Unlike the beautiful results of Leibovitz’s fairy tale shoots, this ending isn’t a very happy one.