When I first found out about the new Annie Leibovitz exhibit, Women: New Portraits, I immediately searched the Internet for where it was going to be located. I was so very excited to find out that 1 of the 10 cities the tour was going on was San Francisco! The city is only about 2 hours from where I live and I knew it was completely doable!
Annie Leibovitz has been the most influential photographer in my career. I first heard about her in my high school photography class where I fell in love with photography. The evolution of her career and her portrait work moved me and ignited the passion in my soul. I have followed her career ever since.
As I was thinking about the exhibit and how I wanted to go, I also thought about who I should ask to go with me. The exhibit opened the day after my mother-in-law’s birthday and she is a photographer and self-portrait artist and I thought that she would enjoy the work as well. So for her birthday, I told her we were taking her for a day trip to San Francisco to see the exhibit, shoot, and of course eat!
As we drove into the city, it was a rare, clear, sunny day. We hung out at Fisherman’s Wharf for a little bit after having lunch at the Rain Forest Café. It was so nice to be in the bay and to smell the salty sea air.
We then made our way to Crissy Field at the Presidio to see the exhibit. I had seen some pictures online and even though it was a little smaller than I thought it would be, it was still just as moving as I had hoped. There was a single wall with prints of some of Annie’s photographs. The exhibit was sponsored by UBS and called, Women: New Portraits . It was a continuation of a project that Annie had started in 1999 with Susan Sontag. It is said that this project is one of her most enduringly popular projects. Annie Leibovitz has always been known for the depth and emotion that her portraits display and has also been known for her subjects being willing to do anything for her. I think that is what has most drawn me to her work. The way that she connects with her subjects and created such beautiful, vulnerable yet strong portraits. Most of the photos I have seen before but it was so incredible to see her actual prints and even the little pin holes in the corners which made me think of all the other places they have been on display and how many others had been moved by them as well. There were also 2 large LCD displays showing a slideshow of her portraits of all types of women. Actresses, politicians, musicians, Olympians, performers, soldiers, journalists, and everyday women, all of them having their own story to tell who allowed Annie to capture a moment of it. I only captured a photo or two on my camera before I was informed that it wasn’t allowed, but iPhone photos were. So here is a mix of my photos and iphone photos that I took at the exhibit.
There was also a reading room adjacent to the exhibit that had chair, couches, and tables, all covered in photography books. Many of them were ones that I have or have been influenced by. All of Annie’s books were there plus countless others by photographers such as Cindy Sherman, Sally Mann, Susan Sontag, Dorothea Lange, Henri Carter Brenson, Richard Avedon, and Tini Modotti (who I wrote a research paper on in college). There was also a collection of photographs by Alfred Stieglitz of his wife, Georgia O’Keefe, which I had never seen before but I found completely brilliant. There was also a copy of her self-titled book that is so big it comes with it’s own stand. I waited for 15 minutes for my turn to flip through it’s giant pages and even though it was for only a few moments, it was really special. Hopefully one day I will be able to afford (and stomach) the $2,500 book!
I was so excited that I was able to go to this exhibit and it was so inspiring! It was also really nice to experience it with Eli, who is my second shooter, and my mother-in-law. I think it was an incredibly inspiring experience for all of us and I am excited to see how all of our work expands as a result.
We finished off our time in the city down by the water next to the Golden Gate bridge, taking photos of the water, the bridge, the surfers and each other.
It was a really amazing day and I am so thankful for days like that: full of adventure and fueling the mind and soul. I am looking forward to more days like that in the future, the kind that make your heart swell with happiness and inspiration! Thank you for allowing me to share our little day trip with you. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and take the time to cherish the people and things around you 🙂