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Photographer Leibovitz reaches deal with lender

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz reached a deal on Friday with the art finance company behind her $24 million loan, allowing her to buy back control of her photographs, which had been put up as collateral.

In a joint statement with Art Capital Group, which made the loan against the value of Leibovitz's entire collection and her two properties, Leibovitz said she had bought back control of her assets. She had taken the loan to pay off debts.

As part of the agreement, Art Capital agreed to drop a breach of contract lawsuit filed against Leibovitz in July and extend the deadline for payment. The loan was originally scheduled to be paid back on Tuesday.

"In these challenging times I am appreciative to Art Capital for all they have done to resolve this matter and for their cooperation and continued support," Leibovitz said in a statement.

"I also want to thank my family, friends and colleagues for being there for me and look forward to concentrating on my work," the photographer said.

Leibovitz, 59, who has photographed everyone from Michelle Obama to Britain's Queen Elizabeth and a very pregnant Demi Moore in the nude, approached Art Capital in June 2008 and later secured from the group a $24 million loan.

She is perhaps best known for a portrait of a naked John Lennon and a clothed Yoko Ono taken on the same day the former Beatle was shot dead.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Todd Eastham)

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