Learning to see again - Annie Leibovitz

One of my sources of inspiration is artists. Not only viewing their work, but also learning of their creative process, their challenges and how they overcome them. How do they find their own inspiration and feed their creative drive?

We all know of the photographer Annie Leibovitz. Whoopi Goldberg in a tub full of milk. Demi Moore pregnant and naked on the cover of Vanity Fair. Since working at Rolling Stone in the 1960's, Leibovitz has photographed most of the famous people and cultural events of the past 40 years. She is one of the most prolific living American photographers. Married to photographer Susan Sontag with three children, by the early 2000's she was at the pinnacle of her career. Then Susan passed away. And Annie's financial difficulties caught up with her. She was in crisis mode. Things needed to change. She needed to heal. And part of that healing process is a new book called Pilgrimage.

Leibovitz chose the subjects simply because they meant something to her. It was a personal project, a restorative project. "I needed to save myself. I needed to remind myself of what I like to do; what I can do".

Annie Liebovitz - Pilgrimage

What captured me about this book was its purpose - her need to learn how to see again. She speaks of rushing with her children to see Niagara Falls yet not being able to experience the view. I imagine her standing at the falls with her girls thinking about all of her commitments. She was still in the midst of sorting out her financial problems. Leibovitz stopped. She stopped and noticed the sheer joy in her children as they looked at the falls. So she looked too. Really looked. And saw what they were seeing. That was the beginning of this book.

Despite being told constantly that this book wouldn't bring in any money, she embarked on a journey to photograph all the places that meant something to her. And learned to see again.

Here is a common thread that ties all of us together whether we are a professional artist like Leibovitz or an amateur at home making a craft or something in between. All of us who create, who need to create, who desire to create - we all need to learn to see again. See our work. See our lives. See who we are and who we want to become.

How is your ability to see lately? What gets in the way of you really seeing, of being in the moment in your life?