That’s not my schnoz on the cover of an e-book showcasing 700 “great photographs” from the Library of Congress collection. It’s George Washington’s stony profile at Mount Rushmore. But several of my shots made the volume, along with those of legends who inspired me, such as Edward Curtis and Dorothea Lange.
FOREWARD FROM THE BOOK
“Great Photographs from the Library of Congress” is a unique e-book that contains more than 700 extraordinary images from the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, regarded by many as the world’s greatest collection of historical photographs. Covering a variety of themes and time periods, the selected images illustrate how the world has changed since the dawn of photography.
Included are examples from Mathew Brady’s Civil War classics; Edward S. Curtis’s photographic chronicle of American Indians; and Carol M. Highsmith’s color views from the turn of the twenty-first century; iconic photographs such as Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” and the Wright Brothers’ first successful airplane flight. A variety of themes and time periods are represented, from a turn-of-the-century color view of bustling activity on Constantinople’s Galata Bridge to a shot of the Hindenburg passenger airship in flames; from classic portraits of those who have changed the world—Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, and Babe Ruth among them.
Only TWENTY — that’s right, 20! visitors a day are allowed to see, let alone photograph, this wonder on the Arizona-Utah border. Carol got her chance recently and jumped at it as a new jewel for her America collection.
Over 40 years visually documenting America for our esteemed national library, I’ve photographed some sweeping panoramas. But one of my most treasured moments involved a single item no bigger than a harmonica. It was a derringer – the very gun with which John Wilkes Booth mortally wounded Abraham Lincoln. At Ford’s Theatre, one of many stops on my personal pursuit of Lincoln’s remarkable markers from Washington, D.C., to Illinois, the National Park Service gingerly brought out the pistol for me to capture. Here it is, featured on the cover the Audiobook version of Gore Vidal’s fictional Lincoln chronicle.
For six months, the nation’s premier photographic gallery, the Annenberg Space for Photography, exhibited images from the Library of Congress’s historic visual archive in a show bizarrely called “Not an Ostrich.” (You had to be there to get it.) I am proud that 48 of the 400 photos were mine, and a movie that ran throughout featured my travels and reflections.
Phase One, the Danish company that makes Carol’s favorite camera, producing the largest-megapixel images on earth, posts more than 500,000 images! every day on three Instagram sites: Phase One, Capture One, and Phase One Photo. Of those HALF A MILLION images, at least one of Carol’s images is selected almost every day. Here, ALL THREE of the top nine are Highsmith images!!
Depict, a new company that makes digital frames into which their owners can insert what the company called “museum-worthy” customized art and fine photography, is featuring Highsmith images, including a series called “Neon Alley 2.”
The other day, a neighbor stopped me and exclaimed, “I saw your credit on ‘The Irishman’ flick!” And sure enough, there it is in the Martin Scorsese epic crime film, deep in the credits that roll along well after people have filed out of the theater. Still, it warmed my (Scotch-) Irish heart. Now if I could only figure out which of my images appear, and where! Maybe you can help me spot it.
I am pleased that my copyright-free images are used not only by students and researchers and folks who simply love contemporary images taken all across America, but also by foundations, other organizations, media, and companies. (It’s appreciated, too, when they recognize the creator of the image!) The latest example to come to my attention is a cover of the Gastronomica food-studies journal. It shows – not a hunk of meat or a vegan stew but a smiling bicycle delivery man on Pell Street in New York’s Chinatown. Not sure what’s in the box on his bike, but it’s sure to taste good in whatever dish it’s destined for.
In the online Journal of Roots Music, a fellow named “Easy Ed” liked and published, with credit, my photo of a rusted-out relic that I took near the Shack-Up Inn — a colorfully named cotton plantation turned kooky motel complex in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Ol’ Ed also touted my “home” on the Library of Congress Web site as “a good place to ramble and wander.”
In ads and brochures and the like, you’ve seen “stock” photos such as happy couples clinking champagne glasses at a bar. I’m thrilled that the innovative, British-based stock-photo agency Raw Pixels, which offers high-quality fee-based and free images, is now showcasing my ample reservoir of images taken across America in the latter (free) category.