The Ten Best Photography Books of 2021

In year two of the pandemic, our favorite titles invite us into worlds outside our own

If there is a silver lining to the year, it would be that we were able to slow down and take a closer gaze at things we usually overlook.

The Ten Best Photography Books of 2020

From redheads to surfboards to national monuments, the subjects of our favorite titles this year are wide-ranging

Leutwyler spent three weeks in the archives of the Elvis Presley Estate photographing objects, such as this gold-plated microphone (c. 1960).

A New Photo Book Reveals the Objects That Tell the Stories of the Rich and Famous

Photographer Henry Leutwyler usually shoots his camera at celebrities. For this book, he looked at their stuff

Elvis Jigsaw (2011)
Elvis makes an appearance in several images in Short Stories.

Photographer Matt Henry's Obsession With the 1960s Led to These Amazing Images

Inspired by the movies of the era, he brings together elaborate sets and casts to make his scenes

Pepper, the southern boobook. The southern boobook is Australia’s smallest and most common owl. It gets its name from the sound of its hoot.

Bird Watching Has Never Been More Fun

These photos by portraitist Leila Jeffreys are for the birds

Cavers stand amongst large gour pool walls and unique raft cone formations inside Hang Va.

These Breathtaking Photos of Vietnam’s Caves Bring Out the Armchair Spelunker in Everyone

Photographer Ryan Deboodt discovers beauty in this subterranean realm

"Galaxy," by Alexander James

In the Freezing Cold of Siberia, One Photographer Sought to Mix Oil and Water

In his latest project, British photographer Alexander James captures crude oil encased in frozen blocks of river water

Debbie Harry on camera or a monitor during the video shoot for “Picture This,” c. 1978. Debbie was constantly asked, “How does it feel to be a sex symbol?” Literally exactly that question, over and over again.

Blondie Guitarist Chris Stein Shares His Secret Photographs of the 1970s and 1980s

Hearken back to the era of punk and new wave music with these snapshots

Pat Millin eyes an unridden Arctic wave moments before he paddles out

Meet the Insane Surfers Who Travel to the Arctic Ocean to Catch a Wave

Photographer Chris Burkard takes pleasure in working through the misery of the ice-cold waters of Norway

Photographer Kieran Dodds has temporarily taken over the Smithsonian magazine Instagram account.

Six Questions With Photographer Kieran Dodds

The photojournalist talks about his Bionic Man assignment and what his plans are for taking over our Instagram account


DJ Spooky Spins Asia After Dark: Asian Soundscape

Jesús Rafael Soto, "Blue Penetrable," ©2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

Treat Your Senses to Hirshhorn’s New Suprasensorial Exhibition

Juanita Velasco (Ixil Maya) grinds cacao beans into chocolate during the 2011 Power of Chocolate Festival. The Maya and Aztec peoples valued cacao pods as symbols of life, fertility and even currency.

Surprising Chocolate Facts, Just in Time for NMAI’s Power of Chocolate Festival

Attendees will have the opportunity to grind and sample their own chocolate beverages and learn about history and science behind the "food of the gods."

Still from Ali Kazma's "O.K.," 2010

The Hirshhorn Turns Labor Into Art with “Black Box: Ali Kazma”

Turkish video artist Ali Kazma captures the actions of a man who seems to be the most efficient stamper of paper ever at the Hirshhorn's Black Box Theater

Author Judy Blume recently received the John P. McGovern Award from the Smithsonian Associates for her contributions to the American family.

Q and A: Judy Blume

The children's book author speaks about her career and what it means to write a "banned book"

"Superfudge" author Judy Blume

Author Judy Blume to Speak at the Smithsonian

Blume will receive a John P. McGovern Award from Smithsonian Associates Monday evening at the Ripley Center

The film, "Under Control," is showing tonight at the Hirshhorn

Volker Sattel’s Film Brings Nuclear Power Under Control at the Hirshhorn

Volker Sattel's haunting film "Under Control" takes the viewer behind the scenes for a stylized look at day-to-day operations at nuclear power plants


October 31, 1926: Death Proves Inescapable for Even Houdini

Magician Harry Houdini, who could seemingly escape anything, couldn't escape a punch to the gut and appendicitis


The Black List: Photographs By Timothy Greenfield-Sanders Opens at the Portrait Gallery

Film still from 55 Days at Peking (1963)

The List: Top Eleven Things to Do this Month at the Smithsonian After Work

Date night at the Smithsonian, grab your special someone and head out to these after-hours events

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