COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two Winthrop University students met with Annie Leibovitz, one of America’s best known photographers, during the opening of her Pilgrimage exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art.
The Leibovitz exhibition – comprised of 78 photographs taken between 2009 and 2011 - will be on view at the Columbia Museum through Jan. 5, 2014.
As part of the exhibit, art majors at Winthrop and the University of South Carolina displayed their own work and met with Leibovitz. Art majors English Grant of Rock Hill, S.C., and Rebecca Jacobs of Fort Mill, S.C., were chosen to represent Winthrop. The students were directed to find photos that show self-exploration, such as places, travel and what a pilgrimage means to them.
Grant said she felt like royalty attending a special reception to meet Liebovitz. “When I told her I was one of the students in the student exhibit, she touched my arm and said 'Well let's go have a look!'" Grant said. “I felt like I was about to cry as I walked alongside Annie Liebovitz to the wall where my work was hung. It felt even more like a dream when she complimented me on the work I created and even talked to me about my process.”
Jacobs added that Liebovitz was a very natural person who put them at ease. "She told us about what her photographs meant to her and what photography means to her. It was very impactful," she said.
The student work is displayed along with “Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage” exhibit, which is touted as an evocative and deeply personal statement by photographer 40 years in the business and known for her people profile shots.
The Leibovitz photographs encompass a broad range of subject matter, history and stylistic influences, and surprisingly, there are no people in the shots. There are portraits of subjects that have shaped Leibovitz’s distinctly American view of her cultural inheritance. Visiting the homes of iconic figures, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Pete Seeger and Elvis Presley and places such as Niagara Falls, Gettysburg and the Yosemite Valley, Leibovitz let her instincts and intuitions guide her to related subjects—hence the title Pilgrimage.
“These pictures may surprise even those who know Leibovitz’s photography well,” guest curator Andy Grundberg, former New York Times photography critic, said. “They are more intimate, personal and self-reflective than her widely published work, combining the emotional power of her recent black-and-white portraits of her family with an awareness of her own cultural legacy. All photographs are in a sense intimations of mortality, but the pictures of Pilgrimage make this connection explicit.”
The exhibition in Columbia is sponsored by a number of companies and individuals including major corporate support from Aflac, Bank of America and EDENS.
For more information, contact the Columbia Museum of Art at 803/799.2810.