Pilgrimage: Annie Leibovitz’s New Book of Peopleless Portraits

© Annie Leibovitz / Contact Press Images from the book Pilgrimage, Random House, 2011
(via Smithsonian)

Annie Leibovitz is best known for her iconic portrait work. There’s John Lennon and Yoko Ono, of course, and then there’s the nude and very pregnant Demi Moore Vanity Fair cover shot. With a career that has spanned several decades, countless magazine covers, and numerous museum shows, Leibovitz has now published her tenth photo book. But its contents are not what you expect, if, like us, what you’ve come to expect are portraits.

The new book, Pilgrimage, is populated with portrait work in a different sense: rough waters at Niagra Falls, closely-cropped still life scenes at writers’ houses. Pilgrimage is the first book of Leibovitz’s that was not a result of having been on assignment and as such the shots are intensely personal. They’re places and things that the artist sought on her own. She documented the truth of these scenes in the same manner as she has some of the world’s most recognizable faces. As Doris Kearns Goodwin writes in the book’s introduction, “[Leibovitz] has captured the spirit of the people and the places in this book as surely as thousands of words could ever do.”

(The Book Bench)


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