Is Carol M. Highsmith the Most Generous Artist of Our Time?
Posted by Laurie Frost on May 27, 2009
100,000 public domain digital images: That is the estimated number of images that Carol M. Highsmith (b. 1946) will one day have provided the public for their personal, educational, or commercial use all for the price of a credit line. Since 1992, Carol M. Highsmith has donated her work and assigned her rights to the Library of Congress, and in 2002 began providing digital scans or digital photos, which will speed up the archiving of her images. So far, over 2500 photos have been posted on the Library’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog’s Highsmith Archive, and thousands more are in process.
Her photos have been featured in some 50 books with over 1.5 million copies sold. Apparently, she was smart and kept hold of her rights to her work!
Appropriately enough, Highsmith has contributed hundreds of exterior and interior views of the Library of Congress.
She gave the Library of Congress copy-right free about 50,000 images. That was the cornerstone of their prints and photographs division. I felt it imperative to photograph the turn of this century as well as my lifetime and work with the Library of Congress to help them build their collection of new images. [see]
Johnston studied in Paris before returning to the US in 1890 and opening a photography studio. Her subjects ranged from presidents and tycoons to coal miners and sharecroppers. Here are a few examples form the Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection:
Neith Boyce Hapgood [ LC-USZ62-95740
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