Nov 4, 2023 - Things to Do

Photography exhibit is a window into contemporary history

A wall of iconic images. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Photography is often overlooked as an art form. Since we all have a camera in our pocket, it's seen as almost disposable.

  • But it takes a trained, talented eye — and obsessive hard work — to make a single image suitable for a magazine cover.
  • Annie Leibovitz has made hundreds, if not thousands.

Driving the news: A portrait session Leibovitz had with Alice Walton, founder of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, led to a conversation about the photographer's work. The conversation led to the museum commissioning 25 new works and the "Annie Leibovitz At Work" exhibit, open through Jan. 29.

  • The new photographs will become part of the permanent collection.

The (very) big picture: From some of the most iconic portraits of the most iconic people alive over the past 50 years, to Polaroids of cops writing her speeding tickets in the 1970s, Leibovitz's exhibit is down-to-earth, gritty and simply stunning.

  • About 300 images are push-pinned to the walls and many others rotate on five large video screens throughout the space.
  • The photographs show an arch of her storied career from dogged journalist to conceptual artist.
Annie Leibovitz talks about her work at a media preview in September. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Go see it: "Annie Leibovitz at Work" will be on display at Crystal Bridges from Saturday through Jan. 29. Tickets are required.

  • Admission is $12 for adults but free for museum members, veterans and anyone under 18.

Of note: As part of the exhibit, Leibovitz launched a workshop for NWA would-be photographers, "Beyond the Lens: Teen Photography Mentorship."

  • Participants are working to create a final project that will be displayed Nov. 18-26 at the Studio at Crystal Bridges.

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