Monday, February 27, 2012

Annie Leibovitz and Emily Dickinson's dress

"...I found myself drawn to the detail in the dress, the alabaster buttons and the trim. If you took a picture of the whole dress, from far away, it was just a simple white dress. But if you came closer, there was a beautiful ornateness to it. For someone who spent most of her time quietly by herself, the details would have been wonderful to contemplate. And to feel. They weren't meant for anyone else." 

(Leibovitz, Annie: Pilgrimage; Jonathan Cape, London 2011, p. 22)

I only got this book today, so there are still hours of reading and viewing pleasure ahead of me, but it starts with shots of Emily Dickinson's house and that of her brother, Austin, and I would have bought it for that part alone. Dickinson was Susan Sontag's favourite poet. Sontag and Leibovitz had planned a Beauty Book that would allow them to travel to places they cared about and for Leibovitz to take pictures when she was moved to do so, rather than with an agenda as when on an assignment. After Sontag's death, she found herself unable to go ahead with the project, but instead produced something similar, with her own list of places, and it turned into Pilgrimage.

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