Hollywood royalty celebrate Annie Leibovitz's new sumo sized book at Chateau Marmont

LEIB2.jpgOn the evening of February 26th, Vanity Fair, Leon Max, and TASCHEN hosted a star-studded launch party at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont to celebrate the release of Annie Leibovitz's limited-edition SUMO sized book.

The highly-anticipated book and moving tribute to Leibovitz's prodigious career, was unveiled at the event for the first time and presented to guests on its custom-made tripod stand designed by Australian industrial designer Marc Newson.

The legendary Chateau Marmont has been the setting for many of Leibovitz's portraits and Leibovitz was invited to curate an exclusive exhibition featuring prints from the book, which adorned the library, patio, and various rooms around the hotel, even the bathrooms.
su_leibovitz_newsl_mid_420.jpgThe red-carpet entry saw movie stars, moguls and filmmakers rub shoulders as they were welcomed into the Chateau Marmont's bohemian lobby and garden. Guests featured in the book, including Quincy Jones, Sylvester Stallone, David Spade and Michael Richards of "Seinfeld" fame, perused its pages for the first time alongside David Hockney, Kelly Lynch, Melanie Griffith, Mario Testino, Terry Richardson, Matt Groening and hundreds of other guests who all came out to celebrate such a momentous occasion.

How the book began

When Benedikt Taschen asked the most important portrait photographer working today to collect her pictures in a SUMO-sized book, she was intrigued and challenged. The project took several years to develop and proved to be revelatory. Leibovitz drew from over 40 years of work, starting with the viscerally intimate reportage she created for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s and extending through the more stylized portraiture of her work for Vanity Fair and Vogue. Celebrated images such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono entwined in a last embrace are printed alongside portraits that have rarely, and sometimes never before, been seen. Leibovitz was able to present some of her famous group portraits in a format that proves that she is the master of the genre. Her pictures are at once intimate and iconic, wide-ranging stylistically and also uniquely hers. Leibovitz is often imitated, particularly by younger photographers, but her work is somehow immediately recognizable.

The bookends of the Leibovitz collection are the black-and-white photograph of Richard Nixon's helicopter lifting off from the White House lawn after he resigned as president in 1974 and the formal color portrait of Queen Elizabeth II taken in a drawing room of Buckingham Palace in 2007. In between are portraits that make up a family album of our time: actors, dancers, comedians, musicians, artists, writers, performance artists, journalists, athletes, businesspeople. Performance and power are recurring themes. A supplementary book contains essays by Leibovitz, Graydon Carter, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Paul Roth and short texts describing the subjects of each of the over 250 photographs.

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