Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous photographers in the world. For three decades now, she’s been making iconic pictures. Beginning with her work for Rolling Stone in the 1970s and moving on to Vanity and Vogue, she has photographed everyone from Olympic athletes to movie stars to occupants of the White House. In this new book, Annie Leibovitz At Work (Random House, $40), she tells how these photographs we know so well came to be. It’s a fascinating story about some of the most prominent figures of our time, including Richard Nixon and Hunter S. Thompson, the very pregnant Demi Moore and John Lennon with his wife Yoko Ono shortly before he was killed. This is fascinating cultural history from the photographer’s vantage point.
“Southerners like to tell stories—it’s a tradition,” the Alabama-born Christenberry says. In William Christenberry: Working from Memory (Steidl, $45), edited by Susanne Lange, the artist tells the stories behind some of his photographs. While his pictures chiefly represent small buildings on deserted dirt roads, kudzu-smothered structures, signs, homemade lawn ornaments, the stories are full of people. Christenberry, on his annual visits to Hale County, his childhood home, is always meeting unique individuals, such as the man with one arm who built himself a house, or the woman who fashioned grave markers out of egg cartons. Christenberry talks about angles of light and cameras, but the essential material for his work is a deep sensitivity to the South and a fascination with time’s passing and the visible residue it leaves on physical objects.
Edward Steichen was one of the 20th century’s masters of photography. His career spanned six decades. For a little more than a decade, his work appeared in two of the most important American magazines, Vogue and Vanity Fair. Then as now, they were purveyors of culture, taste, and style. Anyone exploring Edward Steichen: In High Fashion: The Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937 (W.W. Norton, $75), edited by William A. Ewing and Todd Brandow, will notice that along with the period’s supermodels, there are photos of the stars of the time, including Norma Shearer, W.C. Fields, and an unrecognizable young Ginger Rogers. You’ll also find wonderful portraits of William Butler Yeats, Jack Dempsey, and Ernst Lubitsch, as well as Steichen’s memorable photographs of Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, and Gary Cooper.