We knew that celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz had some serious financial problems. But we didn't know they were so bad that she had to sign over all of her photos to a pawn shop:
The NYT today reveals that Leibovitz took out more than $15 million in loans from Art Capital Group—essentially a very high class pawn shop specializing in art.
Last fall, Annie Leibovitz, the photographer, borrowed $5 million from a company called Art Capital Group. In December, she borrowed $10.5 million more from the same firm. As collateral, among other items, she used town houses she owns in Greenwich Village, a country house, and something else: the rights to all of her photographs.
In addition to the lawsuit for more than $700k from unpaid vendors, Leibovitz reportedly used the cash to pay back taxes and finance "a lengthy, costly and litigious renovation on the three adjoining town houses." Why one would pawn their town houses in order to raise money to renovate them, I do not know.
Obviously, a $2 million per year income is no savior from hard times. And hey, Julian Schnabel also pawned some real estate with the same firm to help finance his goddamn monstrosity of a pink, constantly-discounted celebrity condo building, Palazzo Chupi. Pawn shops prey on the rich just as they do the poor. Fairness!
-I don't know what to make of all of this except to say that obviously she doesn't handle money well. But to leverage your own work like that? I can't imagine! Money is money, but your life's work is like...your very being.
I love Leibovitz. I think that her portrait work is some of the finest ever conceived and executed and she's brought a lot of postive and serious attention to the craft of photography. I just hope that she hasn't made a deal with the devil to get her hands on ready cash.