"It's a pretty wild, eclectic group: Merce Cunningham, Pamela Harriman, Mick Jagger," photographer Annie Leibovitz says of her portraits in Rewarding Lives, a new traveling show at the American Express Tower in New York (200 Vesey Street) through December 31. Indeed, the more than 70 images constitute a kind of photographic cocktail party of Leibovitz's famous subjects from 1978 to the present, who were shot for magazines (like Vogue and Vanity Fair) as well as for American Express advertisements. Each image, Leibovitz says, posed—shall we say?—a challenge. After she tried repeatedly to capture Magic Johnson shooting a basket, he turned to her and said, "You know, Annie, I'm really well known for playing the floor," and so the shot of him dribbling. Sammy Davis Jr., ever elegant, danced in the desert near Las Vegas in 1989, a year before his death. When she photographed actresses Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow, Leibovitz saw tears in Danner's eyes. "It's been so long since I held my daughter," Danner said. The prints will be auctioned for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and other charities. For more information, see www.americanexpress.com/rewardinglives.
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