Annie Leibowitz (Pic: Robert Scoble)

World-famous American lesbian photographer Annie Leibowitz is facing financial difficulties following the death of her partner, filmmaker and writer Susan Sontag, in 2004.

The New York Times has reported that Leibowitz is struggling to makes end meet – including paying taxes on Sontag’s estate; taxes she would have avoided had the couple’s relationship been recognised by the state at the time of Sontag’s death.

The survivor of a hetrosexual married couple would not have had to pay the taxes on the estate.

Leibowitz has now been forced to use her collection of photographs and two homes as collateral to raise a $15.5 million loan in part to be able to pay the duties.

The case has been used as an example of the inequality between straight and gay relationships in the US.

There is no consistent recognition of same-sex relationships across the US, with only two states granting same-sex marriage rights.

Leibowitz is the in-house photographer for Vanity Fair magazine and is renowned for her photographs of celebrities. She was the subject of a 2008 documentary, Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens, about her life and work.

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