Not an Ostrich and other images from America’s Library May 2018
The Annenberg Space for Photography is a free Museum located in Century City, California on the West side. I keep forgetting about it and that is shameful as I have been taking photographs for almost 30 years. I have loved taking pictures and this recent exhibit “Not an Ostrich: and other images from America’s Library” I felt I could not miss. It is a retrospect of images from the Library of Congress. It is going to be at the Annenberg until September 9th.
I am not as observant as I use to be. I completely missed the Ostrich. So I am going to give you guys the heads up. It is behind the entrance desk.
The exhibits first image is the oldest image of the first President to be photographed, a young Abe Lincoln. So the first part of this display is about icons, from first selfie to Harriet Tubman, to the Wright brothers first plane and the crash of the Hidenberg. These are the “first photographs” or some of them and some of the most requested for reprint by the Library. This is just a sample and not all of the images there.
The next section of the exhibit dealt with how America likes to have fun, and was broken into three categories sports, entertainment, and basic leisurely activities like going to the beach. It included some rather well known photographers and people, like Kubrick, Kennedy and celebrities, Graham Bell flying his inventive kite, and people living life.
One of the select sub exhibits focuses on “Built Environments” and inclusive of that are buildings and architecture. The Library collection spans centuries. Many of the images are all that is left of structures that were destroyed by natural disasters or man. It includes everything from solar panels, to Native American homes. There was also a section “Science and Business.” The Library not only has images, but also the journals and notes of people like the Bell Family, whose patriarch created the telephone. Many of the images in this section are digitally displayed on monitors that contain slide shows and are not very photogenic. You have to go to the museum to see them. Many images came from the Detroit Publishing Co and so they have their own special exhibit. As you can see I took a bad picture but it kind of shows you that you can’t take pictures very well of the monitors.
I did not take photos of everything. That would not be right. After all, what would you go if I shared everything. Though many of the images that are part of the exhibit are the property of the US public, especially the really old ones One of the images I did not take for this article was an image of two people, Fred Stewart and Tyler Collins, part of a series by Dawoud Bey shot in 2012 called “Birmingham:Four Girls and Two Boys.” The images are of for girls and two boys who were shot on September 15, 1963 and are of people alive today who are the same age as the children were in 1963 and a shot of a man or woman who is the age the kids would be if alive today. Also do you know many photographers are daredevils. There is a few paragraphs written on the walls on this subject and also the fact that people have been faking stunts in photographs for decades and even creating ghost images.
At the back of the exhibit are two booths where people are making recordings. What they are doing is the “Story Corps Airstream” You and a friend can go and record yourselves interviewing each other on a topic of your choice. You could end up on NPR and the recordings will be a part of the Library of Congress.
Do not forget to answer the book questions at the front of the Museum On a wall are shelves of black and red books and a series of questions. You take a book from the bottom shelf and decide if you agree or disagree with the statements on each shelf. I know you kind of can not read the questions in my image, or barely. Go and try it, it is free. I should add the night I went there was a free ticket event in Eventbrite with free snacks and an live band.
I actually wonder if any photos I took in my years of being a citizen journalist would make it into the Library. The ones I had on Demotix. It would be criminal for them to be sold without restitution or credit given to me.
Sorry I think though all photographers should protect their work. I believe you own your own rights unless you are hired by someone and even then you need to contract those rights or I would ensure that everyone knows you own the rights.