Photographer Annie Leibovitz pawns her life's work for a £10m loan to pay her mortgage
By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 2:24 PM on 25th February 2009
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Photographer Annie Leibovitz has borrowed £10 million against some of her most famous pictures to pay the mortgages on all her homes.
The artist, 59, has become so concerned with her mounting debt, accumulated on properties she inherited in 2004 after the death of her lover Susan Sontag, she has turned to a company that lends money with fine art as collateral.
Documents seen by the New York Times reveal she secured the funds by giving the company, art Capital, ownership of all her work - past and future - until the loan is repaid.
The images include those taken for the 1981 Rolling Stone front cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono shot on the day of Lennon's death, the photograph of a naked and pregnant Demi Moore, images of Michelle Obama for Vanity fair and of a semi-nude singer and actress Miley Cyrus taken for the same magazine.
Ian Peck, a co-owner of art Capital, said Leibovitz was not alone in choosing to use her work to raise money at a time when share portfolios are plunging and homes have no equity left to borrow against.
Enlarge One of Annie Leibovitz's photographs for the Walt Disney Year of a Million Dreams campaign shows actress Scarlett Johansson, depicting Cinderella
'What's amazing is that individuals and institutions who previously we thought were untouchable are being deeply affected.
Leibovitz has shot Michelle Obama for this month's cover of U.S. Vogue magazine. 'People who were truly enormous financially are now scrambling,' he said.