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Annie Leibovitz visits Springfield before exhibit

Published: Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 1:47 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – Though she's known for her celebrity portraits, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz has chosen instead to focus on America's history in her exhibit "Pilgrimage."

It opened Saturday in Springfield at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, and, of course, includes the 16th president.

"Lincoln is such a big part of our country," Leibovitz told The State Journal-Register (http://bit.ly/MCu1Dg ) during her Friday visit to Springfield. "The Lincoln Memorial is forever eternalized in our souls and who we are as Americans."

Several photos in the exhibit focus on Lincoln memorabilia. One is a shot of Lincoln's hats on display at the Smithsonian in Washington. Another is a glass negative of a multilens Lincoln portrait in the National Archives. There also is a picture of the gloves Lincoln wore the night he was assassinated.

The exhibit is based on trips Leibovitz squeezed into her regular photography schedule. It includes nearly 70 pictures taken between April 2009 and May 2011, and most of the works are of places Leibovitz always wanted to visit.

"I'm not an intellectual, and I'm not an academic," Leibovitz said. "I think this is one person's view and journey of going through this country and looking at who we are and what's there in a visual way."

Leibovitz said the project indulged her curiosities about history and landscapes.

"I'm very American. I love this country," Leibovitz said. "I grew up in a military family, and we moved every two years, and we got in the car and we just drove."

The exhibit will be in Springfield through August.

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