Last year the Prince of Asturias prizes chose to honour a games developer and educator for its Communication and Humanities award, and for this 2013 edition once again it was anyone’s guess who the jurors would plump for.
This year’s winner is in the words of the jury president a “global photojournalism energiser and one of the most respected photographers in Europe and America.”
American Annie Leibovitz is in the celebrity stratosphere and has been since her first gig at a startup called Rolling Stone magazine in 1970. Reporting from the music fashion and counter-culture frontline by 1983 she was snapping for Vanity Fair, and by 1986, the Atlanta Olympics. No mover or shaker of note could resist her charm, and she caught them all, beautifully.
It seemed that astonishingly quickly she had cornered the market in persuading absolute solid-gold a-listers to reveal themselves in new ways, sometimes boosting careers on the back of just one image. She became the photographer who sold herself, susceptible to royal summons, and prized as fine art.
Commercially the rewards have been rich for one of the artists of her generation, yet Leibovitz has recently been in the news for her financial turmoils, so the prize will be some timely recognition of the trail she has blazed and the quality of the body of her work.