Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

September 26, 2021

© Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Vladimir and Eileen Toumanoff

O. Winston Link, Living Room on the Tracks, Lithia, Virginia, December 16, 1958. 1958, printed 1984, gelatin silver print.

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Caught on film

After visiting a daguerreotype (photography) studio in 1846, Walt Whitman, aka the poet of democracy, wrote: “You will see more life there — more variety, more human nature, more artistic beauty… than in any spot we know.” A Democracy of Images, presented by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC on now through January 5, 2014, is titled after Whitman’s belief that photography provided America with a new, democratic art form that highlighted the spirit of the young country. And true enough, when photography arrived in the US in 1840, it allowed ordinary people to make and own images in a way that wasn’t possible before. To mark the 30th anniversary of its photography collection, the American Art Museum is featuring 113 pics out of its 7000. The exhibit is divided into four categories — American characters, spiritual frontiers, America inhabited and imagination at work — which can also be browsed online at Admission to the museum is free.

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