Abe Lincoln, Ansel Adams, Emily Dickinson discussed on Travel with Rick Steves


To his boyhood home in Indiana, and then on up to Springfield, couldn't find his authentic log cabin, which apparently toured with p. t. Barnum and then found myself sort of didn't quite realize I was doing this at the time. But when I went to photograph Pete, Seeger's log cabin, I think it was sort of thinking the Pete Seeger was are are sort of modern day Abe Lincoln his garage was so cool. Yeah, there is a a workshop in his barn that couldn't help a photograph in its. Very filled with, you know, every little space is taken up with something. It's almost like looking through his ear into his brain. That's right. Exactly. And his grandson told me that what he loved about peace seekers, you know home was that you could put something down and ten years later, you come back and probably be in the same place. Did you call it emotional landscape? Is that the term used any? I guess it's it would have to be imagery that resonated the pull me in that that I, that I felt moved to take a picture without having to think about it too much. Really. It's like intentionally no faces. I mean, I, I would have thought you'd put a face of the people featured, but then on the other hand to show Lincoln's gloves, those gloves actually were in his pocket. The night, he was assassinated at the theater and is actually near. There's a bloodstain on on on one of the things, but you can really what I loved about the gloves. Was that you feel like you're looking at his hands? Yeah, you can. You can feel his hands on all the folds and creases. Now you talked about visiting a lot of homes and some of them worked for others didn't. My thing is Europe. You know, there's a lot of homes in Europe, and a lot of them are just owns of dead people and they just without spirit. But occasionally you walk into a home and it's like they're still there. That's right. Can you talk about a few places that that really felt like the spirit? Was there. Emily Dickinson's house for sure. Not not her house per se with her brother's house was the first one. This led me into this this journey period is that they hadn't really changed anything. I mean, the wallpaper was was writing off the walls, the it was. It was so Victorian I had no idea of Torian meant it was very dark and they were pictures hanging on every single, you know, part of the wall. So that really moved me. I mean, I just you could feel that they were there or had been there. There is a bedroom upstairs where Austin Dickinson son has had died, and it just felt to Erie to walk into it. You know, it's not that it was haunted. Exactly, but it just felt their their presence with almost like like they just stepped out for lunch and Russia's her at the easel or the pens on the desk, or are you take a peek at what are the contents in the drawer? I think the heart of the book is probably the Georgia O'Keefe set of fixtures to actually walk into her studio in ABA q. And and see where she lived and worked. It really did move me to tears. It was very enlivening. There was probably one of the best pictures in the book is, is this photograph of her pastels. Oh yeah, which she made. You can feel like Lincoln's gloves. You can feel her her fingers on this pastels and the range of colors are definitely the the palette, you know, from from New Mexico, you did a lot of extremely close up work, and I think extremely close up has a has a great intimacy. I mean, you look at that close up of Emily Dickinson's only surviving dress and you can understand the the humbleness of the age and the loving stitching that, oh, and into that. I know it's so not my kind of picture and I found myself going in is it feels like a big responsibility to go that close and try to explain yourself any liba is our guest right now on travel with Rick steves in an interview. We haven't heard since it first aired on the show in twenty twelve. She's telling us about a coffee table photo collection. She had. Just released called pilgrimage. The Smithsonian made an exhibit from her collection that toured to local museums around the country any. This is a travel show, and you did clearly did a lot of traveling to put this book together. Just from a listeners point of view, who's dreaming about traveling and wants to have an insight into some of the great homes or inspirational landscapes we're talking about what are three or four of the best homes that you'd recommend for people to be sure to put on their list. We'll concord is sort of like a concord. Massachusetts is just sort of a hotbed of these writers who live together at the same time, Emerson throw and Louise may Alcott, and that's sort of an extraordinary place to go visit. And it's not far from Amherst in New York City is like every blocked there is a historic home. I mean, you know, there are small in house museums, and they're remarkably well preserved. I mean, there's a lot of nineteenth century American history that intimately preserved from the looks of your photographs is that accessible to to every tourist. Is every every photograph in this book is accessible. Absolutely. It is most of these places they either have tours or you can set up an appointment to go. You know, the spiral jetties just sitting out there is all this. You know, it's it's not as his that lands is there. You don't need to take it for Walden pond, you know any when you looked at all of these great and prolific people's homes were you struck by how they decorated. I mean, does that give us much of an insight into their passion in there and their genius? That's that's a funny question because I having visited Monkhouse we're Julia Wolfe, had a writing studio in the back. I was very fortunate they they left me alone in the writing. CO two take pictures, and I took everything off of her desk can photograph the top of her desk and it was like riddled with Markson cigarette burns. And and then I went on to read her husband. Leonard Woolf writes about how Virginia Woolf was extremely messy. So when you look at this desktop, which I photographed in fact, it was kind of almost near squalor. Apparently it was what I understand, but the desk sort of tells you that and just to be there, if if you have a creative spirit and to be in the space of somebody who you really admire that in itself is like a pilgrimage. Actually, that's the name of your book pilgrimage. He's xactly as well. You go to to forge house in in London, and you can't believe you know that it's it's left the way you know it was when when he was live and there is the couch that he did all his analytical, you know sessions on that still there. It's kind of interesting. I mean, it's kind of an eclectic mix. I also went to Graceland. I went to, I had the opportunity to go to Ansel Adams darkroom and to see the dark room still intact. And I, I did have the opportunity photograph Ansel in that dark room in the seventies. So to see the darkened still there and and sort of photograph it as trying was that'd be a pilgrimage for you? Yes. Was this. There's some photographers in here. I like I like to play the piano and I got to go to the little cabin on the fjord that inspired advert, Grieg. I got to see, you know his piano and his view and his desk and the view that inspired him as he wrote. And then when you know his, aren't you close your eyes and you're right there now, that's that's a great description of what can happen. What I hope to encourage. You know, again, this was such a personal project. I, I'm surprised at anyone else's even, you know, looking at it or whatever, but but what I would like to encourage is, is people make their own lists and go off and whatever means something to them. And so of all the of all the visit to made, what was of you that really struck you? Like, wow, I never realized this had such an impact on that person's spirit or creativity. Well, I think that the exercise in Yosemite was was an interesting trial because I, I was with Jean Adams Angels' daughter-in-law. And the first time I went into semi and we woke up in the morning, I was going to go out and photograph the valley, and there were no clouds in the sky, and she Adam said to me, we'll any, you know, Anza would wait three weeks for clouds, you know. So then that's sort of stepping on this path that I wanted to get the valley with clouds in it. I went back actually ten days before the book was supposed to be turned in anyways. It's a lot harder than it looks like. So it was I had a great appreciation for for when you go to that spot where you look down the valley and of course you know, it's it's still with us because of people like Ansel Adams who gave us these images, but it's a mecca. I, I was never there by myself. There was always at least. One photographer and then the day I actually got the the picture I wanted. They were like maybe fifty or sixty photographers there. It is really a mecca for photographers, so beautiful. Then when you get an end to let him sky, I would suppose the photographers come out of the woodwork. Any liebowitz photo collection, pilgrimage features, no faces. But it captures the spirit of dozens of great people who are important to our culture with portraits of where they live and the objects that were part of their everyday life. You'll find more about it with this week's show at Rick steves dot com. Slash radio any. We looked at all of these people's homes and so on. And I'm wondering if any Leib of it was going to go to the home of the woman considered the most celebrated living photographer, your house. What would she find? What would she want to capture in her photo essay? What would they find in your living room? That's a tough question because you know, I having grown up in a military family where I traveled over a couple of years. I actually am a child of the road. I do love to get out and be on the road and hence this this road trip, I grew up driving across this country growing up my fam-. Could afford, you know, hotel rooms in. So we we slept in the car and we drove in, you know, my father was stationed at Fairbanks, Alaska than we drive down to Texas. He you'd be stationed at Texas, and then we in a block, see Mississippi. So I've, I've traveled pretty extensively through this country, and I, my children have have sorta forced me to to settle down, which is not a bad thing. It's a good thing. You know, I think I built my last home for my children and I'm trying this idea of staying put, you know, in giving them a consistent, you know life. But the home I have now is really something for for them to live in. Do you have your favorite photographs hanging around or is it a place where you get away from that and you're not any the great photographer? I don't hang my own photographs in my house. I, I can't afford the art that I really really love it. When my children started drawing early on, I, I love their their work because it seems to me that all we try to do as adults is trying to get back to me. Children in our meaning, and I started hanging their, you know, their work all over the house and my children's drawings and paintings are so magical, so. Wonderful. And when they come home from school with the drawings, I'm I'm framing them. So that's what's in the house is the art work is is my children's. And then I do have a very nice little photography collection of the Tigers. I've always admired of some Lynn Davis's in the living room. I have cardiac Rozan, Robert Frank, an avid on, so that's what that's what the children are growing up with. Who tried to create an a nest, you're trying to settle down? No, I am. I am try. I am trying sure. Look like a woman of the road on your photo in the book here with you in the boots in the back of the pickup there. Yeah, I'm more I am more that person. I, I mean, these road trips for the children. You know, taking, you know the children tonight. Agra falls. And you know, I, I do plan to take them out to do you know the mid west, and that's what I, that's what I've been dying to do is get. Eating them out on the road with me. Maybe they can give the photographer a fresh excuse to look at things they will. They and they did with with this day will all I can't wait to take them out driving to see this country is is is a great country. It was interesting is Annie Oakley in the book is two pages dedicated to photograph her trunk. I love it because, you know, she tried to settle down, but she, she never did she. She lived on the road. There's a Robert frost manuscript. At the the beginning of the of the book that I discovered the Jones library in Amherst. It's it's the poem in miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep in on the dedication page for my children. You know to Sarah Susana Samuel with the idea that we have lots more to do in as you thumb through this book. I'm coming through it right now. What do you see if you just thumb through the book? And you look at the beautiful images that you've collected in this book? What's the bigger picture. Here? Well, I think I didn't quite see it until many of the pictures were hung it as small book signing in New York, and I was looking at them up and I and I realized that it really it really was a search, and the search is not over and you know, don't ask me what I'm searching for, but you know, just to see how people lived and what they did with their lives and people that I cared about and just to collect notes. I mean, I was just thinking about the old faithful picture, which I, it took me two days to get those pictures. Again, I'm thinking about Ansel Adams and what he must have done with early pioneer photographers did when they first went out and discovered these places, wow, these images, tie things together and they keep things alive. They're everywhere. I mean, you know, these small historical places that they give you such residents and give you a lot of insight into who we are and what to do with ourselves next, any liebowitz best wishes with your work. And finding that NIST at home. Thank you. Shoe

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