I recently visited her exhibition at the Concord Museum entitled "Pilgrimage". Here was a woman who, for many reasons, turned to contemplative photography as a way to rebuild and nourish her artistic soul. I'm not sure she would use that label herself but I found that the images she produced during her pilgrimage have all the metaphoric qualities of a contemplative photograph. In fact, I can think of no more profound and evocative example of the power of the contemplative image to link us to the essential question of self-exploration than the Leibovitz's series simply because it is such a huge departure from what she is known for...what she has built her entire career on. She turned her back on what had made her famous, as many past pilgrims have done, and went on an extended pilgrimage across America and England. While some images, such as Georgia O'Keeffe's pastel box and Marian Anderson's dress, were truly stunning photographs, some are significant, I suspect, only because Leibovitz made them. Celebrity, as everyone of us in the 99% category understands, has it's privilege.
|Portrait of Annie Leibovitz|
"I needed to save myself...I needed to remind myself of what I like to do, what I can do..."
- Annie Leibovitz
|Emily Dickinson - Annie Leibovitz|
The exhibition at the Concord Museum is open through September 23, 2012. It is the only New England venue for "Pilgrimage". After it closes, the exhibit itself will begin a "pilgrimage" across America. Try to see it if you can. It is strikingly thought-provoking, especially if you know Leibovitz's past work, and it is a call to the contemplative photographer in all of us.