One can only hope that the insights we will glean from the upcoming book Annie Leibovitz at Work (available for pre-order) is all about how Annie shoots - her style, her approach, and so forth. It can't be that she's showcasing business accumen in this book?
One can only hope, if the report by the New York Post - Annie's A Deadbeat in a Snap (8/31/08), is to be believed. The article alleges $715k in debts, including outstanding equipment rental fees.
How can that be? Well, of course, the New York Post never gets it wrong, does it?
We previously took the NY Post to task for the "tryouts" they were putting all their freelancers through (NY Posty Notes, 7/25/07) and their pay scale surely is not one that can sustain any professional freelance photographer, so where do they get all up in knowing the business of someone with a history and track record like Annie?
The Post has decided to air Annie's laundry, dirty or not. Let's take a look at an alternative possibility. Unpaid taxes? How it is possible that anyone knows what the Federal or State tax authorities are doing? That's something that they're not supposed to be leaking, and until the government brings suit - and while the Post cited "court documents", I'd like to see the proof on that. Further, what ever happened to the "innocent until proven guilty" concept? If the government decides that my house is valued at $500k, and I say it's $250k, and we disagree, that gets decided in court.
What about the labor on the townhouse? It's not out of the ordinary for contractors to say something is done, while the spackle is dripping down the wall and the punch list is far from complete. Yet, they can put a mechanic's lien on your home and you have to fight that in court, over whether or not the job was done right or not.
Unpaid equipment rental fees? Let's say you rented something 3pm - 3pm, and the rental houses' courier gets held up in traffic headed back and blames the delay on the photographer. "Heck, it's Annie Leibovitz, she can cover that additional day's rental" thinks the assistant or the courier hoping to cover their backside, and then you have a dispute. Not unheard of.
I'd like to see the documents. Anyone have a link? Let's all take a look before we pass judgement.
However, this is a cautionary tale to everyone - this is a business people, and don't you ever forget it.
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