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. 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