I started at the top.The first photography exhibition I ever attended is by the brilliant and controversial American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz.Oddly enough,there isn't one portrait in it.Leibovitz has photographed celebrities from John Lennon to Queen Elizabeth II,but took a break from her metier this time.
"Annie Leibovitz:Pilgrimage" is a fascinating ramble through the worlds of some celebrities she didn't get to photograph,including American writers Emily Dickinson and Ralph Waldo Emerson.She photographed Dickinson's last surviving dress-a white lacy affair-and Emerson's hiking hat.
She visited Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion and captured a television he shot a hole in.She took a picture of Thomas Jefferson's experimental garden and Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat that he wore the night he was assassinated.
This exhibition is an historical magic carpet ride,principally through Americana,with a few diversions such as Sigmund Freud's famous couch in London.There is a soft,painterly quality to the photos.Indeed,Leibovitz began as a painter while attending the San Fransisco Art Institute.
It's something I will reflect on for a number of days,at the very least.In my book,that's a considerable success.
Leibovitz,63,was the longtime chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine and,more recently,Vanity Fair.She was the subject of a PBS "American Masters" program,and received the Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship(HonFRPS) for a sustained,significant contribution to the art of photography.
The exhibition is at Gettysburg National Military Park's Museum and Visitor Center through January 30.Admission charge.No flash photography or videotaping is permitted in the Museum.