Profiling Portraits: The Art of the Self-Portrait

In the first entry in this occasional series, Profiling Portraits, we examined occupational portraits, a type of portrait designed to tell the viewer a specific fact about the sitter: their occupation. We will now look at another type of portrait, one which is very popular today, thanks to the advent of smartphones with cameras: self-portraits, […]

Calling All Photo Fans & History Detectives: Flickr Commons, 10th Anniversary

The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division. It’s a remarkable achievement for any social media program to still be going strong after ten years. But the most important part of the Flickr Commons is the opportunity to talk about pictures without the barriers of time and place. A […]

Caught Our Eyes: The (Camera) Subject Rules?

I can never resist a demonstration that the subjects of photos sometimes undermine the efforts of even the most professional photographers. The original caption for this photograph emphasizes charity, but the expressions on the two young boys’ faces suggest that they were feeling anything but charitable towards the photographer. The photo is one of thousands […]

Camera and Locomotive: Two Tracks across the Continent: Andrew J. Russell’s Eye for the Land

The following is the third in a series of guest posts by Micah Messenheimer, Assistant Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division, that discuss the parallel development of two technologies in the 19th century: railroads and photography. The catalysts for a transcontinental railroad lie in the increasing industrialization of the country and the rapid expansion […]

“Drawn to Purpose” Exhibition: What Viewers Are Saying

The following is a guest post by Martha H. Kennedy, Curator of Popular & Applied Graphic Arts, Prints and Photographs Division. The recently opened exhibition “Drawn to Purpose” features more than 30 works by North American women illustrators and cartoonists, spans the late 1800s to the present and includes Golden Age illustration, early comics, magazine […]

Posters of the Winter Season

The following is a guest post by Jan Grenci, Reference Specialist for Posters, Prints and Photographs Division. Winter is one of my favorite seasons, what with the snow, and the cookies, and the caroling. There are a number of posters in the collections of the Prints and Photographs Division that illustrate some of the things […]

Behind the Scenes: a Cataloger Unravels a Surprise

The following is an interview with Woody Woodis, Senior Cataloger in the Prints and Photographs Division, about discovering and cataloging a woven “print” memorializing Joseph-Marie Jacquard, inventor of the programmable Jacquard loom. Melissa: What can you tell us about this woven “print” depicting inventor-weaver Joseph-Marie Jacquard? Woody: During his lifetime Jacquard developed a loom attachment […]