Annie Leibovitz photography exhibit opens at Columbia Museum of Art

The latest project by an artist who has been designated a living legend by the U.S. Library of Congress is on display beginning Friday at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Mayor Benjamin and Council Chairman Washington with Annie Leibovitz (photo by Allen Wallace)

Mayor Steve Benjamin and Richland County Council Chairman Kelvin Washington with Annie Leibovitz (photo by Allen Wallace)

Annie Leibovitz was in Columbia on Thursday for the unveiling of her “Pilgrimage” photography exhibit. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin awarded her the key to the city. Benjamin and Richland County Chairman Kelvin Washington also declared Oct. 3 Annie Leibovitz Day in the city and county with a joint proclamation.

Leibovitz described “Pilgimage” as “an American story about the small details in our country.” The 78 photographs do not include people, focusing instead on objects and places she chose because she was moved by the subjects. The pictures include shots of Niagara Falls, a dress that belonged to Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s library, Georgia O’Keefe’s home in New Mexico, a shattered television that Elvis Presley shot with a gun and Leibovitz’ homage to Ansel Adams.

The artist helped choose Columbia as one of a select few cities where the exhibit will be displayed.

“It means more to me to be here than almost anywhere else,” she said.

Leibovitz said she hopes amateur photographers will be inspired to make their own pilgrimages.

“You can make your own list of places you want to go see. There are so many places in this city you can go and see and photograph,” she said.

Annie Leibovitz discusses  her photos at the Pilgrimage preview Thursday (photo by Allen Wallace)

Annie Leibovitz discusses her photos at the Pilgrimage preview Thursday. (photo by Allen Wallace)

Leibovitz has been a photographer for more than 40 years, and her work includes cover shots and photo essays for Rolling Stone on subjects including John Lennon, Richard Nixon’s resignation, and countless other musicians and events. She also has worked for Vogue and Vanity Fair, and several collections of her work have been published. A 2005 poll of magazine editors naming the top magazine covers from 1965-2005 ranked her covers at No. 1 and No. 2.

“Pilgrimage” will be on display at the Columbia Museum of Art from Friday through Jan 5, 2014. For more information, visit the museum’s website.