Personal Photographs by Annie Leibovitz, Without the Celebrities

In the height of her financial troubles, Annie Leibovitz took a six-hour drive and stood mesmerized by the water of Niagra Falls, with her three children. The world-famous celebrity photographer extraordinaire was facing millions in debt, her career was in danger, her credit card was just rejected, and her hotel room was given away. Yet, she felt revived. She had a list! No assignments. No Miley.

Leibovitz would go to Virginia Woolf’s house, her late partner Susan Sontag’s favorite. She would see Freud’s storied couch. She would find Emily Dickinson’s last surviving dress, Georgia O’Keeffe’s pastels, and the television Elvis shot a bullet through in 1970, hidden in a storage room at Graceland. With her kids, Leibovitz embarked on a road trip, shooting meaningful, personal, historical mementos with a digital camera. Triumphantly, her first ever all-digital exhibit has just opened at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. See a few choice shots in our gallery and her book, Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage.

Photo credit: Annie Leibovitz. Virginia Woolf’s bedroom near Charleston, England. Courtesy of Random House via The New York Times