Annie Leibovitz Pilgrimage

With the biggest shopping day of the year just a few hours away, I can’t think of a better gift suggestion than the newest book from photographer Annie Leibovitz. Though she’s most known for portraiture, particularly of the celebrity variety, this book, Pilgrimage, depicts no people at all. Yet it is still a work of portraiture in its own unique way—a portrait of the artist and a portrait of the people whose homes and workshops she visited in her travels. Leibovitz began this project in the midst of a very well publicized financial turmoil that lays the foundation for why the book is important, to readers as well as to the artist herself. Ultimately the pilgrimage of the title isn’t about an author objectively visiting iconic locations in order that we, her viewers, can see through her eyes. The pilgrimage is a very personal one, whereby Leibovitz created lists of the important people and places in her life, and then set about visiting those locations to photograph them as an intensely personal project. The book is a recording of her personal encounters with these objects and places, and it’s unlike anything else we’ve ever seen from Leibovitz. In a way, that’s what makes it so interesting, so special. It really is a powerful work of art, and one that is sure to be shared by many fans of the photographer as well as the icons she visited throughout the book. I can’t think of a more meaningful gift to give a photography lover or historian this year, and I’m sure you’ll agree after reading more at the New York Times and having a look at a number of images on display there.

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