Books & Talks

Annie Leibovitz Reads from Pilgrimage at Elliott Bay Book Co.

Her new book focuses on places, not faces.

By Seattle Met Staff December 7, 2011

Photo: John Keatley

Do you see what I see? Annie Leibovitz in 2009.

Back in 2009 we had famed photographer Annie Leibovitz in front of a camera, posing for a Seattle Met shoot after the release of her new book Annie Leibovitz at Work. When isn’t she at work? Since her first magazine job—a plum gig shooting for Rolling Stone at age 21, through the years spent crafting celebrity photo portraits for Vanity Fair, Leibovitz has been on the go, cementing her status as a “living legend.” (A Library of Congress–certified living legend.) It wasn’t until she had children “and a life I liked being in” that she learned to resist shooting everything in sight, Steve Wiecking wrote for Seattle Met. He quotes Leibovitz: “‘I had spent years, decades, looking at everything as if it was a photograph. I’m looking at you right now and…I can’t help myself.’ She raised her hands to form a makeshift frame near my face. ‘There’s my rectangle, there you are, I’ve taken the picture,’ she said. ‘It’s not like you stop taking pictures. It’s just you’re not picking up the camera to do it.’”

For her latest photo book, Pilgrimage —which she’ll page through at Elliott Bay Book Company on December 12 —Leibovitz picks up the camera for an entirely new subject. No Hollywood A-listers in this collection. Instead, she visited the homes of Virginia Woolf, Charles Darwin, Emily Dickinson, and Sigmund Freud to capture the spaces where her intellectual heroes lived and worked. She explored Yosemite Valley, honoring one of her favorite photographers, Ansel Adams, and traveled to Concord to capture Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond. And though she couldn’t ask the Niagara Falls to pose, the book still has Leibovitz all over it. "It was an exercise in renewal,” she says. “It taught me to see again.”

Annie Leibovitz will read from Pilgrimage and sign copies at Elliott Bay Book Co on Dec 12 at 7.

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