Annie Leibovitz Is Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf

NYHSLogoThere have been several excellent write-ups in the past week about “Pilgrimage,” a new exhibit of photographs by Annie Leibovitz running through Feb. 22 at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library. The 78 showcased pictures follow a fall 2011 coffee table book of the same name.

Inspired by a bucket list put together by the late Susan Sontag, this pilgrimage saw the photographer travel far and wide, eventually focusing on the homes and personal objects of famous American figures. The Daily Beast’s Justin Jones spoke at length with Leibovitz, who explained why a shot of Virginia Woolf‘s desk resonates:

Woolf’s desk, shot from above, reveals every mishap it encountered — branded with cigarette burns and splattered with ink spills. “To me, it says that art and life are messy,” Leibovitz said of the author’s desk, which she described as one of her favorite images from the series and related to the financial troubles she faced and all of life’s upsets.

Meanwhile, Jenny Che, a recent Dartmouth graduate, starts off her Wall Street Journal coverage with a panoramic lede:

While teaching at an Ansel Adams workshop in Yosemite National Park in the 1980s, Annie Leibovitz found herself looking out into the valley, clouds rolling in above, and marveled at the idea that pretty much anyone could take their own Ansel Adams photograph.

“Of course, it’s not true,” Ms. Leibovitz said, but she tried anyway. For her new “Pilgrimage” series, which covers a wide range of American landscapes and figures, Ms. Leibovitz returned to the Tunnel View overlook in Yosemite to pay homage to the renowned landscape photographer.

As a further testament to Leibovitz’s popularity, the Feb. 10 Q&A event related to the exhibit is already sold out.

[Screen grab via: nyhistory.org]