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Posts Tagged ‘Frances Benjamin Johnston’


Posted by Laurie Frost on October 22, 2013

Getting ready for Halloween? Here’s some images from the Library of Congress.

The first is by Dr. Alice S. Kandell, who donated her Collection of Sikkim Photographs to the Library of Congress and placed them in the public domain.

30193r.jpg (640×434)

Deity and skeleton masks, Gangtok, Sikkim, by Alice Kandell. LC-KAN05- 0094.


Frances Benjamin Johnston shot this picture in the mid-1930s of an Indian burial ground near what was believed to be the site of the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida.


Here’s a view of a corridor in the Cappuccino Catacombs, Rome, Italy, in August 1987.

Corridor in the Cappuccino Catacombs, Rome, Italy


Why not some animal skeletons, starting with this interpretation of a dinosaur skeleton leashed to a man-like skelton somewhere near Murdo, South Dakota, photographed by Carol Highsmith in 2009?

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This is just one in a series of pictures of horse skeletons in motion.

Skeleton of horse. Running. Off the ground


Eadweard Muybridge created The attitudes of animals in motion : a series of photographs illustrating the consecutive positions assumed by animals in performing various movements in Palo Alto, California, in 1878 and 1879; the album was published in 1881.

Posted in Historical, Library of Congress, Places | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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.


Library of Congress  [LC-DIG-highsm-01951] Library of Congress [LC-DIG-highsm-01951 


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.

Highsmith’s generosity was inspired by that of Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952):

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:

Self-Portrait, 1896  [LC-USZ62-64301] Self-Portrait, 1896 [LC-USZ62-64301 

Neith Boyce Hapgood  [LC-USZ62-95740]

Neith Boyce Hapgood [ LC-USZ62-95740

Posted in Library of Congress, People, Places | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Carol Highsmith: Generosity of Spirit

Posted by Laurie Frost on May 27, 2009

I had a lovely surprise in my email this morning: notification of a comment from Carol Highsmith regarding an earlier post,  “Is Carol M. Highsmith the Most Generous Artist of Our Time?”.

Carol Highsmith is a highly regarded photographer who is donating her work, as it is created, to the Library of Congress and placing it in the public domain for free use, asking only for a credit line.

I cannot tell you how exceptional this is.

Anyway, this is what Ms. Highsmith wrote me.

Thank you for running this feature about my work. Yes, I am dedicated to leaving behind a large body of work depicting America during the turn of the 21st Century just as Frances Benjamin Johnston did 100 years ago. 90% of my collection is either on 4×5 film or my current 39 megapixel Phase One camera. I work in large format so that 100 years from now people can study each image and see the detail.

There was a book published about Ms. Johnston entitled “A Talent for Detail” and since she is my mentor, I want to follow exactly in her footsteps. I travel throughout America most of the year documenting everything and often going way out of my way to catch something small or special that I think might be appreciated 200 – 2000 years from now. Route 66, back roads, small town America, urban neighborhoods, national parks, aerials and much more. I love what I do.

And this is what she does (LA descriptions are Highsmith’s as well):

First stop: Los Angeles.



 The (1954) sign, as much as the baked goods, is the lure at Randy’s Donuts, in Inglewood, California. One roadside-attractions website notes that because of its proximity to an L.A. freeway, the sign gets frequent ’smog and soot scrubs.|04/07/05|01409 (digital file from LC-HS503-532)

Mann’s (formerly Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre is the ultimate Hollywood tourist attraction, with crowds often jamming the patio to inspect handprints of movie stars. The opening of Grauman’s in 1927 was the most spectacular theater opening in film history. 04/07/05, LC-DIG-pplot-13725-01364 (digital file from LC-HS503-489)

Then back east to Virginia:

Washington & Lee University Liberty Hill Ruins in Lexington, Virginia, 9/29/02, LC-DIG-pplot-13600-01214 (digital file from LC-HS503-363)


And finally, this great shot. Can you guess what this is?


Second floor corridor. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.[LC-DIG-highsm-03179]

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