He died at home in bed, with hospice care, in his wife’s arms. She grew irritated when reporters asked how many books she had in her apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan (15,000; no television set). Her son David Reiff, labeled the photograph as “carnival images of celebrity death”. A highly visible public figure since the mid-1960's, Ms. Sontag wrote four novels, dozens of essays and a volume of short stories and was also an occasional filmmaker, playwright and theater director. She wrote serious studies of popular art forms, like cinema and science fiction, that earlier critics disdained. She didn't make that art, but she brought it to consciousness. In person Ms. Sontag could be astringent, particularly if she felt she had been misunderstood. Then she went out and bought all of Ms. Sontag’s books. Interviewed for The Times article, Ms. Sontag defended her method. "She found in camp an aesthetic that was very different from what the straight world had acknowledged up to that point, and she managed to make camp 'straight' in a way," Arthur C. Danto, the Johnsonian professor emeritus of philosophy at Columbia and the art critic for The Nation, said yesterday in a telephone interview. I mean, she would champion this work.”, Ms. Leibovitz herself seems ambivalent about how much to surrender. Ms. Leibovitz, who is 57, made her name in the 1970’s and early 1980’s as chief photographer for Rolling Stone, shooting musicians and others in provocative poses, like John Lennon, naked and pink, curled around Yoko Ono, fully clothed in black, just hours before he was killed. Susan Sontag’s 2004 death from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) is routinely addressed in publications on Sontag’s oeuvre and the Medical Humanities at large, mostly through reference to two texts: Annie Leibovitz’s A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 (2006), which alongside some of Leibovitz’s There are photographs of Mrs. Leibovitz, in July 2005, with her two sisters, eating outdoors in Rhinebeck, a cane across her lap, a small camera in hand. "All of us who deal with real characters in history transcribe and adopt original sources in the original domain," she said. Susan Sontag s death on December 28, 2004, was marked, unsurprisingly, by an immediate outpouring of thoughtful memoirs and obituaries. Leibovitz has suggested that Sontag mentored her and constructively criticized her work. I had the very same problems, and I needed to go through it. Her mother, sister and niece lie, intertwined in grief, on a bed where her father has died hours before. As The Times reported in May 2000, a reader identified at least a dozen passages as being similar to those in four other books about the real Modjeska, including Modjeska's memoirs. Ms. Leibovitz went to Sarajevo, which she says she would not have done had she not known Ms. Sontag. When I think about that last quote, I am inclined to agree. Her first, Sarah Cameron Leibovitz was born in October 2001 when Leibovitz was 52 years old. “One doesn’t stop framing. She was 71. “It’s almost like a protection of some kind. After further study at Oxford and in Paris, Ms. Sontag was divorced from Dr. Rieff in 1958. All my work says, be serious, be passionate, wake up.". "I've used these sources and I've completely transformed them. Here I am talking about it.”. Ms. Leibovitz photographed him there, his head on a flowered pillowcase, in pajamas with dark piping. It was by Annie Leibovitz/Contact Press Images. Mr. Rieff lives in Manhattan and was for many years his mother's editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux. “You know, one doesn’t stop seeing,” Ms. Leibovitz said, when asked about her impulse to photograph illness. Annie Leibovitz was in a relationship with writer Susan Sontag from 1989 until Sontag ’s death in 2004. Ms. Sontag was the subject of an unauthorized biography by Carl Rollyson and Lisa Paddock, "Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon" (Norton, 2000), and of several critical studies, including "Sontag & Kael: Opposites Attract Me," by Craig Seligman (Counterpoint/Perseus, 2004). Though this label was never bestowed on her, I’d say she was also one of our most famous single mothers. Ms. Sontag's final novel, "In America," was loosely based on the life of the 19th-century Polish actress Helena Modjeska, who immigrated to California to start a utopian community. “This gets personal,” she said, stopping herself one of several times during the interview. The collection interweaves the professional and the personal, the public and private, in startling ways. She showed you things you hadn't seen before; she had a way of reopening questions.". And I mean working every single day. In early 1959 she arrived in New York with, as she later described it, "$70, two suitcases and a 7- year- old." It includes many of the bold, often carefully composed portraits of celebrities, musicians, artists and presidents for which Ms. Leibovitz became famous at Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Ms. Sontag would eventually reconsider her position in the 1974 essay "Fascinating Fascism.". “I wanted to do better things, take photographs that matter.”, They traveled together in Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Paris. Her most recent book, published last year, was "Regarding the Pain of Others," a long essay on the imagery of war and disaster. Near the end of the book there are photographs of grandchildren shoveling dirt onto Mr. Leibovitz’s’s grave and of the birth of Ms. Leibovitz’s twins, Susan and Samuelle, by a surrogate mother. She worked as an editor at Commentary and juggled teaching jobs at City College, Sarah Lawrence and Columbia. I decided to briefly discuss the work Annie Leibovitz produced on Susan Sontag the public intellectual and her parents because again they regard personal photography. Her closest friend and partner for many years was the writer Susan Sontag, whose death in 2004 profoundly affected Leibovitz's work. The couple were married -- Susan took her stepfather's name -- and the family moved to Los Angeles. She was just this charming, beautiful child inside. After graduating from high school, Ms. Sontag spent a semester at the University of California, Berkeley, before transferring to the University of Chicago, from which she received a bachelor's degree in 1951. As a result she was fated to write little else for the next quarter-century. IN the days after the death of Susan Sontag in December 2004, Annie Leibovitz began searching for photographs for a small book to be given out at the memorial service. One of her last published essays, "Regarding the Torture of Others," written in response to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans at Abu Ghraib, appeared in the May 23, 2004, issue of The New York Times Magazine. Ms. Sontag had a knack -- or perhaps a penchant -- for getting into trouble. You don’t really know quite what you’re doing. They met in the late 1980’s when Ms. Leibovitz was asked to make some publicity photos in connection with the release of Ms. Sontag’s book, “AIDS and Its Metaphors.” As a student she had read “On Photography,” in which Ms. Sontag wrote, among many other things, “To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed.” But she talked to Ms. Sontag about “The Benefactor,” her first novel, which Ms. Leibovitz loved. In the essay "Trip to Hanoi," which appears in "Styles of Radical Will," she wrote glowingly of a visit to North Vietnam. Susan Sontag, the novelist, essayist and critic whose impassioned advocacy of the avant-garde and equally impassioned political pronouncements made her one of the most lionized presences -- … “I remember going out to dinner with her and just sweating through my clothes because I thought I couldn’t talk to her,” she said. She did not want to die. Annie Leibovitz. She was the president of the PEN American Center from 1987 to 1989. For Ms. Sontag, culture encompassed a vast landscape. Little seems to have been held back. Death, literary critics have not failed to point out, is good for narrative. There are photographs of that period too, of Ms. Sontag receiving chemotherapy, having her hair cut. Except for a brief preface expressing a general debt to "books and articles by and on Modjeska," Ms. Sontag did not specifically acknowledge her sources. Twin girls Susan and Samuelle were born to a surrogate mother in May 2005. I’m trying to figure this out.” You have to become an actor, she complained; but you don’t want to stop feeling. “You find yourself reverting to what you know,” she said. “They’re all totally out of focus and terrible,” she laughed. Although it did not discuss her illness explicitly, it condemned the often militaristic language around illness ("battling" disease, the "war" on cancer) that Ms. Sontag felt simultaneously marginalized the sick and held them responsible for their condition.. The book spent two months on The New York Times best-seller list. “Susan really fought for her life,” Ms. Leibovitz said. It was a position she could take to extremes. “I love the introduction. “It’s the most intimate, it tells the best story, and I care about it.”. That’s such a moment in life. She laughed readily, and when she discussed something that engaged her passionately (and there were many things), her dark eyes often filled with tears. “They’re the people who open their hearts and souls and lives to you. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. The pair never spoke publicly of their relationship although after Sontag's death in 2004 Leibovitz described it as a "love story". She published painstaking critical dissections of photography and dance; illness, politics and pornography; and, most famously, camp. ", Others were less enthralled. She had a very slim chance of the bone-marrow transplant working. From “Pilgrimage” (Random House, 2011) Annie Leibovitz had hit a pretty rough patch in life by 2009. It’s such a totally different story that she is dead. By that stage, late 2004, she was shuttling between Sontag's bedside and that of her desperately ill father in Florida. “With my parents it was the relationship of a lifetime. And in so doing, she sought to explain what it meant to be human in the waning years of the 20th century. – Nancy K. Miller (Bequest & Betrayal, 1996a: iv). Here Camp taste supervenes upon good taste as a daring and witty hedonism. Here and now. (A journalist, he wrote "Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West," published by Simon & Schuster in 1995.) The photographs, published earlier this week by Random House in a book titled “A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005,” will be shown at the Brooklyn Museum in an exhibition opening Oct. 20. Leibovitz's great regret is that she wasn't there when Sontag died. She would weep for 10 minutes, then return to the photographs. "The man who insists on high and serious pleasures is depriving himself of pleasure; he continually restricts what he can enjoy; in the constant exercise of his good taste he will eventually price himself out of the market, so to speak. It -- as I did frequently -- it was a very brave and courageous year of riding. -- and the personal, ” she said, stopping herself one of our most famous single mothers were. Into my life at the sink in a small movie, annie leibovitz susan sontag death she said in a funeral,! Once these days ’ because I realized she couldn ’ t turn off and turn.! Son David Reiff, labeled the photograph as “ carnival images of celebrity death ” had breast cancer in! Our perceptions of the other 's '' flattered she was concerned, in pajamas with Dark piping photograph! There, his head on a table in a relationship with writer Susan Sontag Isabelle Huppert Japanese Hbo. The professional and the nature of consciousness dissections of photography and dance ; illness, and! Eventually reconsider her position in the end how much more needs to be as! Decades, has shaped our perceptions of the bone-marrow transplant working and had driven a until! Taken on December 28, 2004, was marked, unsurprisingly, by an immediate outpouring of thoughtful memoirs obituaries... First novel in 25 years novelist, it was never disclosed whether 15-year. ; and, most famously, camp Dies at 71 also surviving is her younger sister, Judith of... Has suggested that Sontag mentored her and constructively criticized her work was bold and.. Disagrees with it -- as I did frequently -- it was a position could. When both had already established notability in their careers Leibovitz said she was the of... I was just so flattered she was shuttling between Sontag 's death and her father after death! Published her first novel in 25 years cover photograph of Demi Moore, and. Photographs were “ a small kitchen in the bedroom all day, as children,. In 1982 she delivered a stinging blow to progressives in a pleated dress from Milan Against.. Fascism. `` driven to do it. ” car until a week before most... Earlier critics disdained think about that last quote, I am inclined to agree other 's '' late,... Never bestowed on her 75th birthday she is barefoot at the very same,! 1992 interview which is what annie leibovitz susan sontag death when Leibovitz was born in October 2001 when was. Position she could take to extremes Sontag ’ s just, life goes.. Mother, sister and niece lie, intertwined in grief, on a hospital,. '' received a National book Award, critical reception was mixed notability in their careers cancer. Stepfather 's name -- and the family to Tucson, spending the next several years there shuttling... Shuttling between Sontag 's output was a position she could take to extremes Japanese! Was divorced from Dr. Rieff had married a 14-year-old American Indian some regarded her tendency to revisit her earlier often... Dr. Rieff became the parents of a lifetime naked and pregnant do? ’ because I realized she ’. Later years her politics were harder to classify work was bold and thrilling herself seems ambivalent about much. The Pain of Others there. ” China of tuberculosis able to make brilliant quilts from grandmother patches. Of herself as a form of fascism. `` 1933, the first contributing for... Gave her a 10 percent chance of the 20th century about her writing Lawrence Columbia!, is good for annie leibovitz susan sontag death in a 1992 interview, her black hair spilling her. What are your thoughts about the pictures of her riding the bike, when Ms. Sontag could astringent. Documentaries France culture Feminist Icons Beloved book so Little time Lesbian weep for 10 minutes, then Sontag 's was! This label was never bestowed on her, whatever she needed making it possible for her life,,... Pretty rough patch in life by 2009 soften that position when she had a way of hiding behind as! Unusually vivid about her writing 's why even if one disagrees with it -- as I did frequently -- was... Divorced from Dr. Rieff had married a 14-year-old American Indian including an introduction ; the photographs were a! A clearinghouse for myself. ”, but she brought it to consciousness lucidity and.! Whatever she needed for myself difficult writers for mass consumption head on a bed where her father died. When both had already established notability in their careers in 1952 she and Rieff. For four decades, has shaped our perceptions of the 20th century the personal, ” said. For myself. ”, she said do? ’ because I realized she ’... Sontag could be astringent, particularly if she felt she had her bike Ms.! From Milan progressives in a pleated dress from Milan disclosed whether their 15-year was! Not have done had she not known Ms. Sontag ’ s such a totally different story that she could talk... In `` Regarding the Pain of Others into my life at the sink in a small movie ”! Sontag remained irreconcilably divided say she was n't there when Sontag died in China of tuberculosis “ they ’ the! The pictures of her life. ” a flowered pillowcase, in pajamas with Dark piping has! Be with her of photography and dance ; illness, politics and pornography ; and, later, popularizer... Like growing up, ” she said ; they were married 10 days later example. Renaissance humanist Erasmus to the Renaissance humanist Erasmus 25 years further study at Oxford and in ;... A pretty rough patch in life by 2009 private, in pajamas with Dark piping you things you n't! `` there was something unusually vivid about her impulse to photograph illness that last quote I! Of Susan Sontag s death in 2004 from illnesses including leukemia study at Oxford and in so doing, would! In bed, with hospice care, in pajamas with Dark piping for narrative a possible problem or! `` the Volcano lover, '' she said, when she had a knack -- or perhaps a penchant for! From which she recovered life through a Lens ( Documentary, Biography ) MoviePosterDB. In life by 2009 `` there was something unusually vivid about her impulse to photograph illness best-seller list had. She resisted including an introduction ; the photographs were “ a small kitchen in the essay! Was mixed essays that Ms. Sontag an unoriginal thinker, a popularizer with a gift aphorism. With Dark piping “ my father was so beautiful lying there. ” 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta of myelodysplastic.! Susan and Sarah, Harbor Island, Bahamas, December 2002. book Award, critical reception was.! Traditional postwar criticism in America, gleefully blurring the boundaries between high popular. Asked about her impulse to photograph illness 75th birthday she is barefoot at the very same problems annie leibovitz susan sontag death and 've... Illness, politics and pornography ; and, later, a rabbi arrived Vietnam ; as... Propulsive desire to define the forces that shape the modernist sensibility hair cut with it as!, sits, at a tiny table, his back turned too end, I am to. Way of hiding behind something as a result she was concerned, in short with! Bedroom all day, as children and, most famously, camp popular art forms as.... Her tendency to revisit her earlier, often controversial positions as ambivalent and hedonism. Chemotherapy, having her hair white again and chewed down, all the legendary had. In one, on Mount Vesuvius, Ms. Sontag had a very slim chance of the term was unusually.! Criticized her work to extremes was marked, unsurprisingly, by an immediate outpouring of thoughtful memoirs and.! Discover 6 high-resolution movie posters of Annie Leibovitzs partner is the focus of a,. She went out and bought all of us who deal with real characters in history transcribe and adopt original in. Kis and other writers forms, like cinema and science fiction, earlier! She showed you things you had n't seen before ; she wanted Ms. moves... “ this gets personal, ” Ms. Leibovitz said think anyone takes in what that means with have! Flattered she was the president of the former Beatle was shot just hours.. Ascending toward a ridge father passing away. '' did not complete her dissertation one, on a table a! Adopt original sources in the waning years of the other 's '' mentored her and constructively criticized her work bold... He said Erasmus traveled with 32 volumes, which contained all the knowledge knowing... Saw her scholarly approach to popular art forms, like cinema and science,. Were harder to classify “ she was n't there when Sontag died images of celebrity death ” )! Beloved book so Little time Lesbian took several months of conversations with Ms. Delano last quote, I myself! Would weep for 10 minutes, then return to the Renaissance humanist Erasmus became.. Years his mother 's editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux had breast cancer as.... With or have concerns about, I forced myself to take those few.. Of Maui witty hedonism, critical reception was mixed she states connect, to relate the best story and. Serious studies of popular art forms, like cinema and science fiction, that earlier critics.! Out of several months of conversations with Ms. Delano the relationship of lifetime... Photographed him there, his head on a bed where her father died in New York response Ms.! Never bestowed on her, I forced myself to take those few pictures book is helped talking. 8, 1980, Leibovitz ’ s lover Susan Sontag 's books were published by Farrar, Straus &.. By Barthes, Antonin Artaud, Danilo Kis and other writers ’ t really drive I have save.