Photographers

A Union Pacific locomotive makes its way through Cajon Pass in Southern California. The “Building America” slogan is not just puffery: Union Pacific is the nation’s largest railroad, and was also one of the original companies responsible for constructing the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s.

These Photographs Capture the Indescribable Glory of Trains

America’s fascination with trains is fast-tracked in this study of passing freight

The image captured in South Texas shows cactus bees (Diadasia rinconis) in a rare and intimate moment as they swarm into a mating ball for a chance to mate with one female bee.
 

Good News

Winners of the 2022 Big Picture Natural World Photography Competition Announced

From mating bees to starfish devouring a sea lion, the photos captured the beauty and diversity of life on Earth

A self-portrait of Vivian Maier from 1953

How Vivian Maier, the Enigmatic Nanny Who Took 150,000 Photographs, Found Her Place in History

The late artist is getting her first full-scale exhibition in the United Kingdom this summer

Kim Phuc Phan Thi, the girl depicted in the 1972 photograph The Terror of War, and photographer Nick Ut in 2022

Fifty Years Later, Kim Phuc Phan Thi Is More Than 'Napalm Girl'

While the image freezes in time a moment of wartime horror, its subject has been moving forward

My Comrade documented the early careers of some of today’s most famous drag queens.

The Zine That Documented Drag’s Campy Coming of Age

The queer publication shone a joyous light on an underground culture during the darkest days of the HIV/AIDS crisis

In a 1929 column, Amelia Earhart name-checked Keating as an example of a woman in aviation who had beaten the odds, writing, "She photographs from the air and helps make the beautifully accurate maps which compose aerial surveys."

Women Who Shaped History

In 1920s New York, This Woman Typist Became a Pioneering Aerial Photographer

Edith Keating survived the Halifax Explosion and eventually took to the skies, marking a path for other women to fly in her wake

Georgia O’Keeffe poses at her home, Ghost Ranch, in New Mexico. The artist often drew on imagery of the American Southwest in her work. 

One-on-One

Unvarnished Photos of Georgia O'Keeffe Show the Elusive Painter in Her Element

Never-before-published photographs offer an intimate look at the iconic artist

Adorned in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, Victoria Franco takes part in a protest near Los Angeles City Hall on March 19, weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine.

How Ukrainian and Russian Immigrants View the War From Afar

To residents of Southern California with ties to the Eastern European nations, the conflict feels close to home

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These Are the Winners of Smithsonian Magazine's 19th Annual Photo Contest

From the beauty of bodies in motion to the symbiotic behaviors of insects, these photographers captured fascinating moments in time

Pruitt took roughly 88,000 photographs of life in and around Columbus, Mississippi, between 1916 and 1960. Pictured: a Black baptismal group on the bank of the Tombigbee River, circa 1930s

Chronicling the Triumphs—and Tragedies—of Life in the Deep South

A new book and traveling exhibition highlight the work of Mississippi photographer O.N. Pruitt

It’s been 70 years of instant photography, thanks to Edwin Land, on the left.

Polaroid Inventor Edwin Land Gave Us More Than Just Instant Photos

Seventy-five years after the game-changing camera was unveiled to the public, a scientist calls attention to Land's other technological breakthroughs

On July 21, 1963, Gloria Richardson was walking from a meeting when her would-be attacker ran at her with his brandished weapon leveled at her neck. She flat-palmed the blade of the bayonet, shoving it away from her body. 

Women Who Shaped History

How Gloria Richardson's Look of Righteous Indignation Became a Symbol of No Retreat

In 1963, the civil rights leader shoved aside a guardsmen’s bayonet with disgust and defiance; photography preserved the charged moment

Aside from photography, James Van Der Zee was also a gifted musician who played both the piano and violin.

The Met Acquires Archive of Work by Harlem Renaissance Photographer James Van Der Zee

Working with the Studio Museum of Harlem, the museum is preserving the photographer’s images of 20th-century Black life

Canon's new SPAD sensors work by amplifying a single photon that enters the sensor's pixels into large amounts of electrical energy pulses. This allows the camera to see objects in areas with small amounts of light.
 

Canon's New Image Sensor Can See in Almost-Total Darkness

The tech can capture images in only one-tenth of the brightness required by other devices

The black-and-white stills represent the spirit rendered by King Richard, the new film starring Will Smith as the Williams sisters’ father, coach and mentor.

Based on a True Story

These Vintage Photos of Venus and Serena Williams Reveal the Truth of 'King Richard'

Seen as preteens, the future tennis sensations loved each other as much as they loved the sport

This year's overall winner Laurent Ballesta spent more than 3,000 hours trying to capture his stunning undersea image of mating groupers.

Ten Breathtaking Images From the 2021 Nature Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards

The annual awards tell the story of our planet's creatures and the threats they face

The photographs show the "fossil" imprint of a wooden ship that rotted away long before the dig.

You Can Now Explore a Trove of Behind-the-Scenes Photos From the Famed Sutton Hoo Dig

Schoolteachers Mercie Lacks and Barbara Wagstaff captured the snapshots in August 1939

Edward Sherriff Curtis, Diomede Mother and Child

Trove of Unseen Photos Documents Indigenous Culture in 1920s Alaska

New exhibition and book feature more than 100 images captured by Edward Sherriff Curtis for his seminal chronicle of Native American life

Three firefighters—George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Bill Eisengrein—raising the American flag on September 11, 2001. This last of the series remains the most striking, yet least-known depiction of this scene.

September 11

A Lesser-Known Photo of an Iconic 9/11 Moment Brings Shades of Gray to the Day's Memory

On the 20th anniversary of the attacks, photographers who immortalized the famous scene reflect on what their images capture and what remains out of frame

The Larry J. West Collection features an array of early photography, (above: Untitled (pin, woman in hat) by unidentified artist, ca. 1865), presenting a stunning new visual record.

New Collection of Portraits Presents the Diversity of 19th-Century American Photography

Smithsonian American Art Museum announces major acquisition of the works of Black photographers James P. Ball, Glenalvin Goodridge and Augustus Washington

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