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Annie Leibovitz: Portraits of loss and absence

Photographer Annie Leibovitz is best known for her portraits of John Lennon, the Rolling Stones and, more recently, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

This week, the New York Historical Society is showing another facet of her work. Her exhibit "Pilgrimage" doesn't show a single person, concentrating instead on landscapes, houses and cultural artefacts.

The pictures are portraiture of a kind, though. Each image attempts to evoke a famous historical figure, from Emily Dickinson to Martha Graham.

"This is not different from a portrait I can take today," says Leibovitz. "In this case, though, the people are not there anymore - they are gone."

Leibovitz explained to the BBC how these photos have helped her deal with a "dark period" in her life and how they are her tribute to her partner, writer Susan Sontag, who passed away in 2004.

Reported by Anna Bressanin

© Annie Leibovitz. From "Pilgrimage" (Random House, 2011)

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