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Pilgrimage Hardcover – November 8, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

Featured Photographs from Pilgrimage

Annie Oakley's heart target, private collection, California, 2010

Skeleton of a pigeon studied by Charles Darwin, Natural History Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire, England, 2010

Elvis's 1957 Harley-Davidson Hydra Glide motorcycle, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, 2011

Emily Dickinson's only surviving dress, Amherst Historical Society, Amherst, Massachusetts, 2010

Sigmund Freud's couch, Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London, 2009

Door in adobe wall at Georgia O'Keefe's home in Abiquiu, New Mexico, 2011


“Extraordinary images….When I leafed through Pilgrimage, I was astounded....I urge you to take a look at this remarkable and powerful book.”
--Anna Wintour, Vogue
“The view from the window of the greenhouse where Virginia Woolf wrote her novels, Thomas Jefferson’s vegetable garden at Monticello, an etching copied onto the walls of the Alcott family home in Massachusetts by May Alcott (the inspiration for Amy in Little Women) scale down our perception of these large personalities to intensely human dimensions and draw us into the intimate texture of their lives....Leibovitz has produced a book without people, and yet portraits are everywhere on its pages, and in them a profound sense of life’s bold fragility and art’s imperfect beauty.
--Eve MacSweeney, Vogue
"Gazing at the traces left behind by her favorite artists, traces of their lives, their creature habits, Ms. Leibovitz finds something to nurture all of us — something about integrity, staying true to a vision. She forges a connection to the past that informs the way she is moving forward."
--Dominique Browning, The New York Times

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 978-0375505089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375505089
  • ASIN: 0375505083
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.2 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ is one of the most celebrated and admired photographers of our time. She began her work photographing for Rolling Stone magazine and quickly established a reputation as a chronicler of popular culture, eventually becoming a contributing photographer at Vanity Fair and Vogue. Her first book, Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, was published in 1983. In 1999 she published the bestselling Women, with a Preface by Susan Sontag, for which the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington exhibited a selection of portraits in conjunction with the hardcover publication.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By VermontVoice on November 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I spent the weekend reading this book cover to cover. I love the idea of PILGRIMAGE and am inspired that Annie Leibovitz can take her incredible talent and use it for self-discovery while taking stunning photos to share with the world. I was fascinated by the subjects she chose and their interelationships. What I didn't like is that the photographs and the text describing them are often many pages apart, and the narrative about an individual or place is interrupted by pages of photographs on a completely different subject. However, I am very glad that I purchased the book and know that I will go back to it again and again.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The photos in this book are absolutely stunning. I could have looked at some of them for hours. However, the book's gutter runs right through many of the pictures and ruins them. Perhaps either a bigger book or smaller pictures that would fit on one page would have been better. And the juxataposition of text and photos is just sloppy. The text talks about one subject, the photo shows another completely different topic. It's jarring and shows hasty, sloppy design. The history is fascinating but again, perhaps less of it. Less text about Sara Roosevelt and her awful treatment of her daughter in law and more pictures of Val Kil. Ditto for Thoreau, Lincoln and the others.

One more thing: I would have loved some information about what cameras and set ups Liebovitz used. The pictures really are amazing and it would have been fascinating to learn how they were created.

Okay, so my review is a bit harsh. I guess because I loved the pictures so much and got a little frustrated with the books shortcomings. However, this book occupies a prominent place in my book shelf, and I know I will read and study it again and again and again. If you love AL's work, go ahead and purchase this book, it does contain some awesome photographs and imo, some of her best work.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Nuncia on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The photographs in this book are like a visual diary. There is nothing technically slick about the images. Many tourists could have taken the same shots if given the level of access Leibovitz was granted to the historical sites and their objects. The images that illustrate the stories have a random quality that anyone who has ever visited a historic site will understand. As you enter a room your eye is caught by objects, maybe a vase on a mantel, a hatbox on a shelf in a closet, or the wear patterns on a well loved piece of furniture. You and I would not have the opportunity to memorialize a visit to the interior of Monticello, or the home of Georgia O'Keeffe as Leibovitz has done here. We would have to rely on our memories or the book in the gift shop. For that reason I appreciate Leibovitz's Pilgrimage. There is an accessible quality to the photographs here, pictures of Lincoln's bloodstained gloves, Marion Anderson's concert dress or the hole in the bedcover in Georgia O'Keeffe's Abiquiu home, allow us the closest access most of us will ever have to examine such intimate objects that are part of our shared history. (Cameras and cell phones are not allowed in many historical houses.)
There is dissonance when you read the text and look at the photographs. To resolve it, either read the text and ignore the photos, or look at the photos, ignoring the text. The text does not always match the image on the page.
Leibovitz wrote the book in conjunction with Sharon DeLano and the flow of the narrative is accessible.
For those of use who dream of being able to pilgrimage to those places that mean something to us, and for those of us who have had the opportunity to visit these historic places, but had to stand behind the rope - this is more than a coffee table book. It is a chance to have a special tour over and over again.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ellen G. King on January 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This photographer is one of the best of the best. Whoever did her printed layout did a terrible job. The photos are not placed with her written words and it is distracting and unpleasant to read and view. You have to keep flipping through to place what picture goes with what she is talking about. In spite of the wonderful photographs (and they are exactly as good as you would expect) I would never have bought this book had I known how poorly it was put together.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jenn J on February 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One would think that a photographer of Annie Leibovitz' stature would merit a sharp layout editor, but sadly - this book proves otherwise.

The text and photos are completely jumbled, so that you're reading about one experience while seeing photos about another - for instance, reading about her journey to learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt while seeing photos connected with Abraham Lincoln.

It's so disconcerting - like being in a museum where the art is mis-labeled.

Seriously, what were they thinking? If you care about such details, this book will only frustrate and disappoint.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. Tanaka on December 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When a book is authored by the best known photographer of our times it's natural to imagine that it's a photo book. But while the book features many of Annie Liebovitz's photographs it's really a very personal journal...accompanied by photos. Leibovitz tells us of her long desire to make a "pilgrimage" to various historically significant American sites, then narrates her impressions of each. The photos are uncharacteristically (for her) unsophisticated snapshots presented largely as the same type of attendance evidence that most everyone's travel snaps provide. Nothing much more, although their casual existing-light style generally does add emotional punch to the narrative.

I admit to being a bit enchanted by this quirky, rather egocentric book for a while. But it did become tiresome by about the 2/3rds mark. Its rather disjointed structure, with site narratives beginning and ending without any logical construction or order got on my nerves. And the layout and placement of images (which are not very well reproduced) seems to have absolutely no relationship to the accompanying text.

So I have to honestly give this a shrug. I know that there are plenty of Annie Leibovitz fans who worship anything she leaves for them. They'll like this book sight unseen. But I came away with a rather sad impression of a person who's just a bit lost in life and time.
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