Poor Annie Goes to the Pawn Shop
"Annie Leibovitz, the celebrated New York photographer who has captured many of the most memorable images of the icons of Hollywood and Washington over the past 30 years, is not the kind of person usually associated with going to a pawn shop. But it seems that in these extraordinary times even the likes of Leibovitz need to find cash in extraordinary places.
The photographer, whose pictures of Michelle Obama adorn the March cover of Vogue, has turned to a company called Art Capital that specialises in lending money with fine art as the collateral.
The New York Times disclosed today that Leibovitz has borrowed about $15m (£10m) from the firm in two separate tranches.
Public records show that she secured the loan partly against property she owns, but also by putting up as collateral the copyright, negatives and contract rights to every photograph she has ever taken or will take in future.
Such an exceptional step, involving in essence the pawning of her entire life's work, may in Leibovitz's case be explained by the tumultuous few years she has been through. Her long-time friend Susan Sontag died in 2004, and she has been in costly litigation over the renovation of some of her properties."
Why frightening? Because even when she was relatively flush Leibovitz seemed to have no boundaries when it comes to pumping air into our over-inflated celebrity worship (e.g.,    ). I suspect all propriety will now fall by the wayside.