Pilgrimage, a new book of photographs, began as a series of
day trips and explorations with Annie Leibovitz's children. It ended up as a
testimony to some of the most important people and places in American history.
At first, the reader may not understand the connection between each picture,
but a compelling narrative soon develops. Each photograph is linked to the
next. After shooting a dress that Marian Anderson wore, for example, Leibovitz
was inspired to capture the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where Anderson sang
on Easter Sunday of 1939 after being denied the stage at Constitution Hall due
to her race. Visiting the Lincoln Memorial then caused Leibovitz to move on to
Gettysburg, the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, where Lincoln
gave the "Gettysburg Address." She photographed Lincoln's notes for
his speech as well as the top hat and gloves he wore when he was shot at Ford's
Theater. From there, she visited the studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French,
who sculpted the Lincoln Memorial, which in turn led her to other artists'
studios, such as Georgia O'Keeffe and dancer Martha Graham. The final result is
what Leibovitz herself calls "a restorative project that taught her to see
again." For the rest of us, it's a new way of seeing too, one where
history comes alive through the most unexpected items and backdrops.
— Abbe Wright