Library Seeks Pictures of Pandemic Experiences

This is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, chief of the Prints And Photographs Division.

The Library is collaborating with the photo-sharing site Flickr to significantly expand our documentation of American experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you use a cell phone, a professional camera or graphic design software, we’d like to see your images of how the pandemic has affected your daily life and community.

We invite you to contribute photographic and graphic art images to the Flickr group “COVID-19 American Experiences.” Library curators will review submissions and select images to feature in Flickr galleries and to preserve in our permanent collections.

As the national library of the United States, our ‘rapid response’ collecting has already secured special projects from nationally recognized artists and photographers. Library staff members have also contributed scenes from the D.C. area.

City Bikes in Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. May 26, 2020. Photo: Tracy Meehleib. 

Now it’s time to represent many more parts of the country and many more aspects of the pandemic. Visual images capture documentary details and creative responses that are not easily conveyed through words. Please help us create a diverse collection that can assist future generations in understanding the impacts of COVID-19. All of the photos added to the COVID-19 group will be viewable worldwide.

What should you photograph? That’s really up to you, keeping in mind that we have a family-friendly Flickr account. You might offer pictures related to masks, online celebrations or street scenes. Photos of caring for others, distance learning, new kinds of jobs and daily routines could also work. Pictures that capture grief, hope, uncertainty, joy. The choices are yours.

To participate:

If you already have a Flickr account, go to COVID-19 American Experiences and ask to join this group. Non-members can set up a free account. Then, go to the group page and click the blue “join” box.

Please contribute only images that you have created. When you add up to 5 images to this group, you are giving the Library permission to add your photograph/graphic artwork to its permanent collections and to display them on its websites.

A few additional considerations are described in the Group Rules. Images selected from this group for the Library’s permanent collection will be shared in Galleries from the Library of Congress Flickr account and ultimately you will be able to view the images selected for acquisition on the Library’s website.

The Library is also documenting the pandemic by acquiring books, magazines, newspapers, harvesting websites and other material. We’re collecting the visual documentation of the pandemic as it unfolds. We’ll continue to gather images in coming years once there’s been time for reflection.

Looking forward to seeing your pictures!

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Johannes Kepler and COVID-19: 400 Years of Mathematical Modeling

In 1619, German astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote “Harmonices Mundi” (“Harmony of the Worlds”), a book that tried to understand the mystery of the polyhedral designs of viruses. Four centuries later, the same designs are seen in the building blocks of COVID-19. The Library has copies of Kepler’s work in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division.