If you’ve never heard the name Annie Leibovitz, it's more than likely you have seen one of her photographs at some point. And if you’ve never seen an iconic Annie Leibovitz photograph, now is your chance to see over 300 of them at the Wexner Center on Ohio State’s campus.
The enticing exhibit is broken up into three sets: a collage of proofs, the Master Set, and Pilgrammage. The collage sits at the foot of the staircase leading viewers to the exhibit. It is compiled of alternate takes and portraits, some of which make up the exhibit. This portion can be considered the introduction, giving the viewers a prelude of what’s to come. The Master Set includes 156 of Annie’s personal favorites. These photos capture the past fifty years in American pop culture and news as well as more intimate portraits of family and nature. What makes these photographs special is their portrayal of subjects we as viewers recognize, in settings we aren’t used to seeing them in. For instance, Reverend Al Sharpton getting his hair done at a beauty salon. Capturing the essence or feeling of an era is what Leibovitz does best through her photos.
The photos are arranged in three rooms, and they are all placed within white matting and white frames. This is not done accidentally, for the use of white against the white wall make the photos all the more prominent. They are not contained, therefore there is nothing other than the photo itself doing the talking. The photos are not placed sporadically; the amount of planning is evident in the way they are laid out. For instance, the renowned photo of John Lennon hugging Yoko Ono is placed next to a dramatic portrait of Yoko Ono taken a year after John’s assassination.
The second set of photographs, called Pilgrimmage, is homage to sites and people who have had a significant impact on America and on Leibovitz herself. The photos are arranged in a “salon style” format, filling large walls from floor to ceiling with photographs arranged by person or category. This layout itself is as much of an art form as the photos are.
Annie Leibovitz is able to capture moments of vulnerability and emotion, she is able to document without being strictly a photojournalist, and through her style and dedication, has managed to encapsulate some of the most memorable photographs of American history. This combination of her photographs has never been displayed in a unified exhibit before now, and is only on display until December 30th. The Wexner Center is located in the heart of The Ohio State University’s campus on 1871 North High Street. Tickets are $8 for general admission, $6 for senior citizens, and free to Wexner Center Members, college students with ID, and those less than 18 years of age.