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TOP 500 REZENSENTam 20. Dezember 2011
"So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith;
He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil,
Saying, 'It is ready for the soldering';
Then he fastened it with pegs,
That it might not totter." -- Isaiah 41:7 (NKJV)

Pilgrimage is an intensely personal book, reflecting Annie Leibovitz's interests, perspectives, thought, and some serendipity. Unlike her most famous books, this one is quite different. The essay she wrote is at the core of the book, conveying how she arrived where she did, what happened there, and what her reactions were. The images then become an elaboration on the text rather than the total focus of the book.

In making those comments, I don't mean to suggest that Ms. Leibovitz is a great writer of texts. Her writing here is more akin to an edited diary as she jumps from place to place, as the spirit moved her . . . on these trips that no one hired her to do. You'll also get a flavor of what else was going on in her life at the time. It's very revealing . . . and wonderful.

I've been to many of these places, and that made me aware of how personal her vision is in this book. Another person would have commented on different things . . . and taken different photographs. So in this book, you have a reflection of the real Annie Leibovitz, rather than just stylish portrayals probing the inner characters of the talented, the rich, the powerful, and the famous.

Before going further, let me be candid. This book could have been a lot better. The photographs are usually nowhere near the text that describes them. Many images are bisected vertically by the middle of the book, rather than being presented on fold-out pages where the view would be more complete. A lot of the printing of the book seems downright murky. I doubt if the images are that dark in reality.

But for a book all about inspiration, I have to ultimately judge it by saying that I was inspired. It's a very moving book.

Here are just a few of my favorite images:

Emily Dickinson pressed cactus and dogwood
Emily Dickinson's bedroom
View from the motel window at Niagara Falls
Interior image of Niagara Falls
Writing table view in Virginia Woolf's house
Virginia Woolf's writing desk
The river where Virginia Woolf often walked
Portraits and decor in Charleston House (4)
Sigmund Freud's couch
Pigeon skeleton owned by Charles Darwin
Specimen from the Beagle's voyage
Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument
Devil's Den at Gettysburg
First draft of the Gettysburg Address
Glass negatives of a Lincoln portrait
Georgia O'Keeffe's Black Place, pastels, red hill, and view at Ghost Ranch
Elvis's television with a hole shot in it
Elvis's Harley-Davidson
Jefferson's vegetable garden
Lewis and Clark compass
Annie Oakley's trunk
A heart shot through on a card by Annie Oakley
Hair ornament that Sitting Bull gave to Annie Oakley
Beth Alcott's doll
Tracing of Bronson's and Louisa's hands in his journal
May Alcott's drawing
Louisa May Alcott's desk
Frame of Thoreau's bed
Emerson photographs (4)
Grass John Muir collected
John Muir's notes
Yosemite views a la Ansel Adams
Old Faithful (2)
Spiral jetty (3)

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