Words About Pictures: More National Book Festival Visitor Comments

As the previous “Words About Pictures” blog post demonstrated, street scenes can offer considerable matter for interpretation.  Not only do they show exteriors, but they stir thoughts about interiors: what might be going on inside the buildings or the people depicted?

Here’s an image that brings interior and exterior together in an interesting way and elicited many comments from National Book Festival visitors.

New York, New York. A woman and her dog in the Harlem section. Photo by Gordon Parks, 1943 May

New York, New York. A woman and her dog in the Harlem section. Photo by Gordon Parks, 1943 May. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8d28566

One visitor, upon viewing the picture without a caption,  offered these responses to our questions:

What do you see in the picture?

“There is a beautiful woman with a dog. Looking out of the window observing what’s happening outside, they look content.”

What do you think that the photographer was trying to show?

“The photographer captured the changing times.  Liberation, Freedom, love, and happiness.”

We’re grateful to this individual and the many other visitors who shared thoughts about the photo with us, helping to demonstrate the many meanings a single picture can inspire.

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Winter’s Arrival

We mark winter’s imminent arrival with a cover illustration by Will Hammell for a January 1914 issue of Puck. In the illustration, a cluster of snow-buntings appears to gambol in the wind-blown snow, perhaps inviting the warmly bundled woman to join them in embracing the season. Also known as snowbirds or snowflakes, snow-buntings brave even …

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Amundsen Arrives at South Pole

One hundred years ago, on December 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen and four members of his Norwegian expedition team arrived at the South Pole. Originally, Amundsen intended to be the first to reach the North Pole, but upon learning that Robert Peary and Frederick Cook had already achieved the feat, he made a historic change of …

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New Doors Open for the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection

Thanks to a recent initiative by Library of Congress and National Park Service staff, the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog has grown by nearly 400,000 records. Through a bit of technical wizardry, there is now a record for each digital image in one of our cornerstone collections: the Historic American Buildings Survey/ Historic American Engineering …

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New Resource List: Newspaper Photograph Morgues

  Historic news photographs offer an immediacy and perspective on past events that make them among the most popularly requested items in our collections. The Prints & Photographs Division’s New York World-Telegram & the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection is a case in point.  Consisting of an estimated one million photographs that the newspaper assembled between …

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Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of Thanksgiving 2011 we feature a 1904 cover illustration from Puck, the humor and satire magazine, which shows a young woman with a shotgun over her left shoulder carrying a dead turkey. Artist Louis M. Glackens captures the intrepid huntress who appears to look at the viewer out of the corner of her …

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Words About Pictures: National Book Festival Visitor Comments

In a previous post (“Still Feeling the Glow: Photo Guessing Game at the National Book Festival,” Oct. 26), we described how we  brought copies of photographs from Prints & Photographs Division collections to the National Book Festival in September and asked visitors to participate in a “guessing game.”  We showed the pictures first with no …

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The Buildings That Linked the Nation: New Book on Railroad Stations

In Railroad Stations: The Buildings That Linked the Nation, David Naylor chronicles the history and stylistic character of one of our nation’s most iconic building types. Prolifically illustrated with images from the collections of the Prints & Photographs Division, the volume is organized by geographic region. In addition to showing the exteriors of many stations, …

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