This week marks the 32nd anniversary of Rolling Stone’s famous cover featuring a portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. It was the last professional photo captured of the iconic musician, who was killed hours later outside his apartment in New York City. We’re discounting the chilling image fan Paul Goresh took of Lennon and Chapman that fateful morning.
“What is interesting is she said she’d take her top off and I said, ‘Leave everything on’ — not really preconceiving the picture at all,” Leibovitz told the magazine. “Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn’t help but feel that he was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I think it was amazing to look at the first Polaroid and they were both very excited. John said, ‘You’ve captured our relationship exactly. Promise me it’ll be on the cover.’ I looked him in the eye and we shook on it.”
Leibovitz had only planned to photograph Lennon, but the image of the couple turned out to be one of her most famous portraits and would define one of the most talked about relationships in pop culture history. We scouted for other fascinating photographs that perhaps offer some insight into the final days of famous people. See more photos after the jump.
Jesse Frohman took these photos of Kurt Cobain close to his 1994 suicide, and they were exhibited last year in commemoration of the 18th anniversary of his passing. The Observer commissioned the images. Dressed in Jackie O sunglasses and a leopard coat, Cobain is seen clinging to his cigarette and a bottle (of something) with peeling nail polish. He looks worn, but every bit the iconoclast his fans remember. See other photos in the series over here.