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Newly Available: From Louisiana to New Mexico with Carol M. Highsmith

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As part of her ongoing journey to document all of America with her camera, contemporary photographer Carol M. Highsmith visited Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and New Mexico in the last year. Her colorful images from these states are now included in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog for your virtual travel enjoyment!

Digital Library Specialist Taren Ouellette and Senior Cataloging Specialist Anne Mitchell, both of the Prints and Photographs Division, help make Highsmith’s contributions available to the public by processing and cataloging these born digital images for the online catalog. I asked them to share some favorites from the most recent states and their choices did not disappoint.

First stop: Arkansas!

Taren notes: “What better way to see all of a place than in an intricate model. Love the detail in this and the others she took of quirky Tiny Town!”

Tiny Town, a handmade display of mountains, rivers, city lights, and tiny carved people in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Tiny Town, a handmade display of mountains, rivers, city lights, and tiny carved people in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2020 Nov. 11.

A little further south in Shreveport, Louisiana, Highsmith photographed an eye-catching neon sign for donuts, which also caught Anne’s attention:

 Neon sign for a popular local donut shop in Shreveport, the third-largest city in Louisiana, behind New Orleans and Baton Rouge, in the state’s far-northwest corner near the Texas and Arkansas lines. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2020 Oct. 25.

And Taren remarked on this photo showing the change to traditional Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, La., where decorated homes replaced parades: “Mardi Gras decorations in New Orleans, LA ‘pivoting’ and staying positive amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”

A scene during a most unusual Carnival season, leading to what would normally have been the annual Mardi Gras (or “Fat Tuesday”) celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2021 Feb. 9.

In the state of Oklahoma, one of famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s only extant tall buildings, Price Tower of Bartlesville, OK, attracted the attention of both Taren and the photographer:

The office of renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, inside one of the most famous buildings that he designed, the 19-story, heavily art-deco styled, Price Tower, completed in 1956 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2020 Nov. 29.

And Anne enjoyed the visual appeal of this colorful soda shop in Arcadia, Oklahoma:

Colorful scene inside Pops, a modernist store and restaurant featuring a huge selection of soda pop (carbonated nonalcoholic beverages) in an unlikely place, Arcadia, Oklahoma, still “out in the country” (as of 2020) northwest of Oklahoma City. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2020, Dec. 8.

For many, Kansas evokes images of flat farmland as far as the eye can see, so Taren points to Highsmith’s photos of rock formations, which may be surprising to see!

Those who have heard of Kansas know that much of it is famously flat, with some rolling hills and vast grasslands in the eastern and central parts of the state, but they don’t often think of rock formations like this. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2021 Apr. 11.

Both Taren and Anne were drawn to these images of churches in the New Mexico village of Chimayo:

The Santo Nino de Atocha Chapel, built in 1857 in Chimayo, a New Mexico village on the “High Road” through the Sangre de Cristo mountains to and from the capital city of Santa Fe and the art and shopping mecca of Taos. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2021, Jan. 23.
Dusk view of El Santuario de Chimayo, a Roman Catholic church on ground that was a worship space even before its construction in 1813 in Chimayo, a New Mexico village on the “High Road,” a winding route through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2021, Jan. 23.

We end our journey in the spectacular former St. Louis Union Station in Missouri. As Taren points out, our collections include other images of this train station before it was converted to different uses over the years, including as a hotel and retail space, so these contemporary color photos continue the grand building’s story into the modern day.

A portion of the grand lobby in the former St. Louis Union Station, which, at its opening in 1894, was the world’s largest train station. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2021 Mar. 8.

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