Photography

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

Chuck Close Self-Portrait, dye diffusion transfer prints, 1989

Chuck Close, Artist Whose Photorealist Portraits Captivated America, Dies at 81

The painter, who faced accusations of sexual harassment later in life, continuously changed his artistic style

To get the award-winning shot, Fabian J. Weston, used a microscope from the 1970s and went as far as creating a saline solution that would keep the micro-fauna alive while imaged.

The Secret World of a Termite's Gut Revealed in Award-Winning Video

The footage shows the symbiotic relationship between a termite and the protists that help digest their food

In this long exposure picture, trees burn on a hillside behind Honey Lake campground during the Dixie Fire on August 18, 2021 in Milford, California. The wildfire in Northern California continues to grow, burning over 626,000 acres according to CalFire.

Innovation for Good

From Supercomputers to Fire-Starting Drones, These Tools Help Fight Wildfires

As climate change worsens wildfires in the West, agencies are tapping into new technologies to keep up with the flames

Lightning strikes the iconic Washington, D.C. landmark “twice per year on the high end and once every five years on the low end,” says meteorologist Chris Vagasky.

Watch a Bolt of Lightning Strike the Washington Monument

The iconic obelisk remains temporarily closed as workers repair an electronic access system damaged by the storm

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

Tea Time, Hongkew, Shanghai, China, April 1946

Europe's Jews Found Refuge in Shanghai During the Holocaust

A new exhibition in Illinois centers the stories of the 20,000 Jewish refugees who fled to the Chinese city

Ilse Bing, Selbstporträt mit Leica (Self-Portrait With Leica), 1931 gelatin silver print

Meet the Woman Photographers Who Cataloged the 20th Century

A major exhibition at the Met and the National Gallery of Art spotlights 120 international artists, from Homai Vyarawalla to Lee Miller

Gay Dads Kissing by J. Ross Baughman

Smithsonian Voices

The Story Behind the Iconic Photo of Gay Dads Kissing

For the Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist J. Ross Baughman, it was the moment he was positioned for and waiting to capture

The Sound of Our Resurrection Is Stronger Than the Silence of Death is what McCormick and Calhoun call their picture of A Chosen Few Brass Band, photographed in the city’s Treme neighborhood in the 1980s.

Photographs Salvaged From Hurricane Katrina Recall Life in New Orleans

Making art out of disaster, two photographers reexamine these affectionate portraits of life in the Crescent City

Thirteen-year-old Pedro de Frutos stands inside a dormant volcano near Timanfaya National Park. A series of eruptions
began in 1730 and lasted six years.

Learning to Love the Hardscrabble Life on Lanzarote

A photographic tour of those who eke out a life on the sunblasted island transformed by a volcano

Custard apple trees—a freshwater version of mangroves once ringed Lake Okeechobee’s southern shore in a three-mile-wide belt. Today, barely 100 acres remain.

The Strange Beauty at the Edge of the Everglades

Chronicling the historic struggles of the Florida farming community known as Belle Glade

JR's newest illusion seemingly opens up a ravine in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Dazzling Illusion Creates Gaping Canyon Beneath the Eiffel Tower

Street artist and photographer JR unveiled his latest large-scale installation last month

Before donating the 45.5-carat Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution, the jeweler Harry Winston had Bradford Bachrach photograph Eleanor Kidd—the face of Lucky Strike cigarettes—wearing 
the gem in 1958.

The Story Behind the Photography Studio That Captured America

For generations, Bachrach Photographers made everyone, from JFK to Duke Ellington to everyday people, look great

Yvette, East Los Angeles Car Club, City of Industry, CA, August 14, 2015

The Vibrant History of Lowrider Car Culture in L.A.

With bright paint jobs and bouncy hydraulics, the 'low and slow' rides are an expression of cultural identity for the city's Mexican American community

President Donald J. Trump by Pari Dukovic for Time magazine, 2019

Photograph of Former President Donald J. Trump Is Newly Acquired by the National Portrait Gallery

When the museum reopens May 14, the portrait of the 45th president will be on view in the “America’s Presidents” exhibition

Built in 1920, this Rosenwald School in Hertford County, North Carolina, was later acquired by the Pleasant Plains Baptist Church and has served as a community center and fellowship hall.

Lessons Learned

A photographic homage to a momentous education experiment

L to R: John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison perform at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany, in May 1962.

How a Stint in Hamburg Helped Catapult the Beatles to Superstardom

A trove of letters and photographs associated with the band's time in Germany is set to go up for auction next month

Presenting the winners of Smithsonian magazine's 18th annual photo contest

These Are the Winners of Smithsonian Magazine's 18th Annual Photo Contest

From India to Antarctica, these pictures capture the passion, solitude and surprise of a year unlike any other

Pleasant Plains School in Hertford County, North Carolina, active 1920-1950

How the Rosenwald Schools Shaped a Generation of Black Leaders

Photographer Andrew Feiler's years-long journey through 15 Southern states rescued stories of the fading buildings and the lives they changed