Pilgrimage by Annie Leibovitz

Niagara Falls

I am enamored of and deeply moved by this book that I just bought by Annie Leibovitz. I was newly reminded of it by Amy at Sweet Sweet Life blog (thanks for that). Unfortunately, I missed the recent exhibit of the original photos at the Pace Gallery, a stone’s throw from my house but the photographs will also be on exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., from January 20 to May 20, 2012.

Liebovitz created this work not as an assignment, but as a labor of love and a personal renewal. There are photographs of varied subjects such as Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond, Emily Dickinson’s rooms and belongings, Niagara Falls, The Isle of Wight, and in an homage to another photographer – Ansel Adams, she explored the trails above the Yosemite Valley…and so much more. The work became more ambitious as Leibovitz discovered that she wanted to photograph objects as well as rooms and landscapes. The most powerful to me are the very intimate personal objects of famous people no longer with us. The book is available here.

Images by Annie Leibovitz/Contact from the book “Pilgrimage” (Random House, 2011) © Annie Leibovitz


 The gloves found in the pocket of Abraham Lincoln the night he was assassinated.

Georgia O’Keefe’s handmade pastels.

This one really gets me. The only surviving dress of my favorite American poet, Emily Dickinson.

Annie Oakley’s heart target. One of Oakley’s most popular stunts was shooting through the center of a small heart on a card from around 40 feet away. The actual size of the heart is 1 3/16″x1″. Yes, she was a good shot!

Virginia Woolf’s bedroom in her country home, which is a few miles from Charleston, England.