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Great Photographs: New Issue of LCM

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The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints and Photographs Division.

I could look at photographs all day long. Contemporary or historical, black-and-white or color, provocative or soothing, portrait or landscape. All kinds of images can draw my interest, and some photos have the power to stop me in my tracks. These great photographs make me look deeply and want to know more. My colleagues in the Prints & Photographs Division are also totally intrigued by pictures. That made it easy to say, “Yes!” when the Library’s Office of Communications asked us to help them create a “Great Photographs” issue of the Library of Congress Magazine (LCM).

Apsaalooke Feminist Series #3. Color inkjet print by Wendy Red Star, 2016. Used by permission.
Apsaalooke Feminist Series #3. Color inkjet print by Wendy Red Star, 2016. Used by permission.

A distinctive feature of this issue is presenting the photos in a large size, often on their own page, with a caption that provides insight into the photographer and the subject matter. You’ll recognize such historic treasures as Migrant Mother and American Gothic. With other selections, we hope to surprise you (in a good way) by introducing you to images you might not have seen before. One of the special privileges that comes with working at the Library of Congress is the opportunity to get to know photographers from many different backgrounds. They help us build inclusive collections that can represent American life and culture from diverse perspectives.

Arizona. Grand Canyon, photographer suspended on climber's rope. Gelatin silver print by Kolb Bros., 1908.
Arizona. Grand Canyon, photographer suspended on climber’s rope. Gelatin silver print by Kolb Bros., 1908.

The “Great Photographs” issue also highlights the lengths that photographers go to get their shots whether they are hanging over the Grand Canyon or acquiring coverage of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter. And, we take you behind the scenes to learn about the delicate conservation of a rare civil war album; the impressive career of senior photography curator Beverly Brannan; and the photographs that inspire the noted photo historian Anne Tucker who curated the wonderful “Not an Ostrich” exhibition for the Annenberg Space for Photography.

We invite you to enjoy the more than 25 fascinating photographs, and please visit us online or in person to discover more great photographs that speak to you! It was an exceptional pleasure to work with the magazine editor and designer, and a talented team combining insights from eight Prints & Photographs Division staff members, both curators and reference librarians, to create the “Great Photographs” issue.

LCM (Nov.-Dec. 2020), cover.
LCM (Nov.-Dec. 2020), cover.

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  1. Your Digital Photograph Division is excellent a wonderful service that you can access from anywhere.

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