How Annie Leibovitz captured Sheryl Sandberg’s focus
In Portraits 2005–2016, Leibovitz photographs the Silicon Valley titan during a rare moment of calm
When Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook in March 2008, the tech company was losing money. At the beginning of last year, Facebook posted more than $1 billion in quarterly net income for the first time. That turn around is in no small part due to Sandberg, the company’s Chief Operating Officer and an economics whiz who is credited with maximising the firm’s advertising capabilities.
Many of her co-workers have praised Sandberg for her focus and interpersonal skills. Yet Sandberg is more than a Silicon Valley titan. Within a few months of becoming the first female Facebook board member, she also began to speak publicly about women in business. Her popular 2013 book, Lean In, draws on the shared wisdom of Tina Fey, Larry Summers and Arianna Huffington among others, to examine the place of women, work and the will to lead.
That doesn’t leave a lot of time for posing; nevertheless, this picture, taken by Annie Leibovitz in Menlo Park, California, back in 2015, captures her perfectly.
Sandberg, sat on Charles and Ray Eames’ EA 117 office chair in Facebook’s headquarters, with a whiteboard of notes behind her apparently describing the firm's shift to mobile, has clearly found a slot for the photographer, and is focussing on the appointment. The setting suggests a reportage-style image, yet Leibovitz’s composition, and Sandberg’s clear composure make for a sharp, stylised portrait of a woman who, when presented with any task, leans in and gets the job done.
For a longer look at Annie Leibovitz’s sumptuous photographs order a copy of Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005–2016 here.