Thursday, October 25, 2012

News---1960s-1990s Iconic Photographer Annie Liebovitz Is Captured by Gettysburg

securedownload.jpegPhotographer Annie Leibovitz, Celebrated For Her Portraits of Famous People, Turned To Historic Places For Her Latest Project, "Pilgrimage," Now On Display In Gettysburg, David Dunkle, The Patriot News, October 24, 2012

 Photographer Annie Leibovitz talks Wednesday morning about "Pilgrimages," her new photography exhibit at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.   For Leibovitz, this meant visiting places in the United States, Canada and England that were iconic in their way, but were also spots that just drew her to them.
These ranged from Niagara Falls and folk singer Pete Seeger's workshop, both in upstate New York, and artist Georgia O'Keeffe's studio in New Mexico. She also visited photographer Ansel Adams' studio in Carmel, Calif., the home of poet Emily Dickinson in Massachusetts. and rock and roll king Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion in Tennessee. And of course, Gettysburg, where a tremendous battle between huge Union and Confederate armies fought in July 1863 helped to set the course of the United States up to the present day.

"This is truly not my normal work, but it's not so far from my normal work either," Leibovitz said Wednesday morning during a news conference to announce the opening of an exhibit of her "Pilgrimage" work at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. "It's sort of the peripheral vision of my usual work."  The exhibit officially opens Thursday and continues through Jan. 20, 2013. Access is included as part of regular museum admission.

"Annie is without a doubt one of the most famous photographers in the world, and her photographs capture the culture of our time," said Joanne Hanley, president of the Gettysburg Foundation, which runs the museum and visitors center in concert with the National Park Service. "But today we are seeing a different side of Annie. The photographs in this exhibit were taken simply because she was moved by the subject."

"I wanted to see what was inside me," she said of her reaction to the battle against lawsuits seeking up to $24 million from her. "It was something that built slowly over a period of time. It was an extraordinary journey of soul-searching."  . . . .

Leibovitz said she backed into the project, which coincided with a period of time when she was facing severe financial problems that could have cost her control of her own photographs, which include famous portraits of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken earlier on the day the ex-Beatle was murdered in New York City, and a nude and very pregnant Demi Moore.  "I thought I would come to Gettysburg and take a simple photograph of the battlefield. Of course, nothing is ever that simple." - Annie Leibovitz, on what she called "a bad day," she took her daughters to Niagara Falls, and was fascinated by how fascinated they were by the natural wonder. That led her to develop a preliminary list of about a dozen places where a pilgrimage would be appropriate.
The 70 photos now on display in the museum and visitor center include two she took on the battlefield at Gettysburg. One is of the Jacob Lott farm, which was at the center of the Union lines on the final day of the battle and it still being farmed today. The other is a shot of Devil's Den, where a famous Civil War photo, "Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter," was taken just days after the battle by Alexander Gardner.  Her trip to Gettysburg, a place she had visited as a child, was sparked by visits to Lincoln exhibits at the Smithsonian Institutes in Washington, D.C., and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.

"I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I thought about the Lincoln Memorial and what that meant," Leibovitz said. "But it led me to Gettysburg. I thought I would come to Gettysburg and take a simple photograph of the battlefield. Of course, nothing is ever that simple."
She admitted that she shot the photo of the Lott farm, which shows wash hanging from a clothesline in the yard with battlefield memorials in the background, before asking permission of the current owners. "I was just praying they were going to say 'yes' when I did ask them for permission," she said. "Thankfully, they did."

Leibovitz, 63, has mostly overcome her financial problems, and is back to concentrating on the work that made her one of the world's most famous photographers. Her work has graced dozens of covers for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines, and her "Pilgrimage" project has been published in hardcover with an introduction by noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Leibovitz said she hoped her work would inspire others to follow in her path, or make their own.  "Anyone can go to any of these places," she said. "Gettysburg is there for anyone. It's all there for anyone."
Text Source, Full Text Source, and Image Source: The Patriot News, October 24, 2012

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