News / Arts & Entertainment

Annie Leibovitz Takes New Path in 'Pilgrimage'

Deborah Block

A new exhibit of photos by the well-known portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz shows a different side of her. Leibovitz, known for her photos of celebrities, spent two years taking pictures without any people in them.  Many are of places in the United States where famous people lived in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Pilgrimage is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.



There are homes and personal items that belonged to people who are no longer with us, including artists, scientists, photographers, and a U.S. president.

Leibovitz says she went on a journey from 2009 to 2011, taking photos of places that moved her, including landscapes.   She says the collection represents a renewal of her spirit. Earlier, her lover, Susan Sontag, a famous author, died of cancer. And Leibovitz had financial troubles and almost lost control of her photo archives.  

"There's some searching going on," said Leibovitz.  "I discovered some things about myself which were really comforting."

Leibovitz was inspired by the 20th century American artist Georgia O'Keefe and traveled to New Mexico to photograph her homes and a box of handmade pastels.

She also captured images of items that belonged to President Abraham Lincoln, including the hat and gloves he was carrying in 1865 when he was assassinated.  

"What she's really trying to do is evoke the presence of people, in a way, despite their absence," said Andy Grundberg who curated the exhibit.

Leibovitz has been a photographer for 40 years and is known for her shots of celebrities.

She told reporters she hadn't planned to focus on people from the past, but felt drawn to them.

"What really drew me to them, I think that they stand out.   I thrive on history.  I love it," added Leibovitz.

Leibovitz was fascinated by sharpshooter Annie Oakley, a star in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in the late 1800s.  She photographed Oakley's boots and one of her shooting targets.

Leibovitz also found inspiration at Graceland, the mansion of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley, where she took a picture of his motorcycle.

Grundberg says the exhibit is "a portrait of Leibovitz."

"This is a way of understanding how Annie Leibovitz thinks about the world through the pictures that she's taken of people and places that are important to her," noted Grundberg.

To honor landscape photographer Ansel Adams, Leibovitz took a picture of his darkroom.  Adams, who died in 1984, was devoted to photographing the wilderness in the American west. He was also a leader of the conservation movement.

Leibovitz did photos similar to Adams' famous pictures of Yosemite Valley in California.  

"The best homage you can make was photographing that valley that he saved," Leibovitz said.

The photos in the exhibit are also included in a book that Leibovitz hopes will inspire people.  She says she'll continue doing portraits, but also wants to take other kinds of photos.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."