The Real Reason Annie Leibovitz Is Broke

Turns out no one really wants to buy her stuff

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 26, 2010 10:14 AM CDT | Updated Oct 31, 2010 2:59 PM CDT

(Newser) – Despite earning $2 million a year from Vanity Fair, celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz is in dire financial straits—how can this be? John Gapper explains in the Financial Times: No one is collecting her work. Despite shooting such iconic pictures as a naked and pregnant Demi Moore, or the also-naked John Lennon with Yoko Ono, Leibovitz’s work simply hasn’t gained a following among people with expensive tastes. Some don’t admire her style; some cite a lack of focus; others say she hasn’t played “by the art market rules.”

High-profile fashion and society photographers sold some of their works for as much as $3 million, but at auctions this year, most of Leibovitz’s prints have sold for single-figure thousands, or even just hundreds, of dollars. One expert explains that in order to find success, artists must work closely with auction houses and galleries—and Leibovitz hasn’t. “She suffered from not caring about it, not paying enough attention,” says one gallery owner; another adds, “We dropped her because it would take six months just to get a print signed.” Click here for more on how she got underwater.

In this Oct. 29, 2009 file photo, Annie Leibovitz poses for the media, prior to a media tour through her exhibition at Kunsthaus Gallery in Vienna.   (AP Photo/Lilli Strauss, File)
In this Oct. 9, 2007 file photo, photographer Annie Leibovitz speaks about her portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at her gallery exhibition at the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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