Skip to main content

Photography

Restoration experts make a startling discovery that an 1848 daguerreotype hides a wealth of insight into life in a pre-war riverside town

In 2006, conservator Ralph Wiegandt flipped on his Zeiss Axio stereomicroscope and peered at the surface of an 1848 daguerreotype. Read more >>

On a 1947 trip up north with his son, Ansel Adams took a remarkable photograph that brought Alaska's grandeur to the American public on a large scale for the first time

In the summer of 1947, Ansel Adams and his 14-year-old son, Michael, undertook a six-week journey through Alaska that would have notable consequences for the history of conservation. Read more >>
The most indispensable photographs show us who we are: the formal portraits of our great-grandparents as newly arrived immigrants and our own parents on their wedding day; the candid snapshots of our youthful selves and of our own children at moments in time gone forever. Read more >>

A stereo view discovered in a California flea market may show the President-elect embarked on a momentous journey

It was, up to that point, the photo opportunity of the century. Read more >>

A LIFETIME AGO A QUIET STRANGER passed through the author’s hometown and came away with a record of both personal and national importance

FOR HALF A CENTURY THE PICTURES HAD BEEN POPPING UP occasionally in books or magazines—razor-sharp blackand-white images of life in our little East Texas farm town in the thirties. Read more >>

A HALF-CENTRY AGO Harry Dubin bought his son a camera, and together they made a remarkable series of photographs of a city full of blue-collar workers—all of them Dubin

WILL ROGERS MAY NEVER HAVE MET A MAN HE DIDN’T like, but Harry Dubin evidently never met one he didn’t like to be. Read more >>

A historian of American portraits tells how he determines whether a picture is authentic—and why that authenticity matters

More than any other features, our faces are what mark us as unique individuals. Superficially our faces are who we are. Together with names they identify us with the lives we have lived; they are our perpetual calling cards. Read more >>

Their unwilling subjects considered the tabloid photographers pushy and boorish. But they felt they were upholding a grand democratic tradition.

In 1928 the New York Daily News recruited Tom Howard, a Chicago Tribune photographer who was unknown to New York law-enforcement authorities. Read more >>
From Interstate 25 we took the exit for Trinidad and pulled into a McDonald’s on the edge of the commercial district, near the Colorado Welcome Center and the local chamber of commerce. Read more >>

Starting with a single, haunting battlefield image, an amateur photo detective managed to reconstruct a forgotten photographer’s life and uncover a treasure of Indian portraits.

I had waited six months to see it. A long-time collector, I loved to roam the monthly swap meet in Long Beach, California near my home. Read more >>
He was a consummate professional whose photographs spanned the years from the Great Depression to the death of the great picture magazines. He traveled many thousands of miles but never really left the American heartland. Read more >>

A routine chore for JFK’s official photographer became the most important assignment of his career. Much of his moving pictorial record appears here for the first time.

It was a typical motorcade. Cecil W. Stoughton had been in many like it. A forty-three-year-old veteran of the Signal Corps, Captain Stoughton had so impressed John F. Read more >>

A man who has spent his life helping transform old photos from agreeable curiosities into a vital historical tool explains their magical power to bring the past into the present

Charles Sheeler found his subject in the architecture of industry. To him, America’s factories were the cathedrals of the modern age.

In the fall of 1927 the Philadelphia advertising agency N. W. Read more >>

During the Depression, itinerant photographers hawked their services from town to town. All we know about this one is that he passed through Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1934. And that he was very good indeed.

Only one man in town today remembers him, even vaguely, although he took 560 pictures of Corpus Christi businesses and the people in them during the month of February, 1934. Read more >>

A picture taken the day before President Roosevelt’s death has been hidden away in an artist’s file until now

A newly discovered record of a proud Southern society that few people ever thought existed

In 1920, when Richard Samuel Roberts’s name first appeared in the Columbia, South Carolina, city directory—in the “Colored Dept.“—he was listed as a janitor in the post office. Read more >>

A set of turn-of-the-century glass-plate negatives bought at an auction prompted a New York photographer to set off for central Ohio to document architectural and social change

The Wyoming photographer Joseph Stimson proudly portrayed his region in the years when it was emerging from rude frontier beginnings

In a career lasting almost sixty years, Joseph Stimson promoted Wyoming and other Western states in strong and spirited photographs. Read more >>

Artfully composed still-life photographs from a rare 1871 album transform brushes, sponges, and stationery supplies into symbols of a proud, industrial society

Five years before the 1876 Centennial Exposition celebrated the nation’s confidence in its technological prowess with towering displays of manufactured goods, a group of Philadelphia photographers, lithographers, and printers produced an elegant, leather-boun Read more >>

While the Wright Brothers experimented at Kitty Hawk, a photographer named William Jennings believed he and his friends were making aviation history

THE FIRST BALLOON FLIGHT in America lifted off from Philadelphia in 1793, and the 100th anniversary of the event prompted a reawakening of interest locally. Read more >>

… 1885 that is, month by month

THERE’S NO REAL REASON why past events should take on an added piquancy just because they happened exactly a century ago. And yet they do. Read more >>

For sixty-five years this photographic company has been recording America from overhead

LIKE MANY World War I fighter pilots returning from Europe in 1919, Wesley Smith hoped to find a career that would keep him aloft. He had flown missions out of England during the war. Read more >>

A recently discovered collection of glass-plate negatives offers a remarkable look at our grandparents

A portfolio of rare photographs recalls baseball’s rough-and-tumble vintage era

PARADISE LOST . It is a sweet and on the whole harmless vision that prettifies the past of America and the game dearest to its heart. Read more >>

An all-but-forgotten San Francisco photographer has left us a grand and terrible record of the destruction and rebirth of an American city

George Eastman didn’t think the posters the movie companies supplied were good enough for his theater. So he commissioned a local artist to paint better ones.

IN 1922 GEORGE EASTMAN, the great photographic industrialist, built an elaborate movie house in his hometown of Rochester, New York. Read more >>

What do you do if there’s no photographer around when Valentino meets Caruso in Heaven?

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but one day in 1926 a picture was worth one hundred thousand extra readers. In August of that year, New York City’s newspapers were in the middle of one of their usual summer circulation wars. Read more >>

A collection of little-known early-twentieth-century photographs of St. Louis recalls the author’s unfashionably happy childhood

Fireflies? Glowworms? Whatever the right name for them, in St. Louis we called them lightning bugs. On summer evenings we used to chase them across our lawns, which were not divided from one another, and collect them, when caught, in little medicine bottles. Read more >>
Fitz W. Guerin, shown here in a moment of solemn whimsy, was a St. Louis photographer who ordinarily took his work very seriously. Read more >>