June 15, 2012 Library of Congress to Acquire 4,000 California Images by Carol M. Highsmith

Press Contact: Gayle Osterberg (202) 707-0020 | Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

The Library of Congress is acquiring 4,000 digital images documenting present-day California from distinguished photographer Carol M. Highsmith, who is traveling throughout the Golden State.

Highsmith is photographing California during the next several months, in cities large and small, from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary celebration to El Centro’s vegetable fields and the world-famous Yosemite National Park.

Highsmith’s California project is made possible by funding from the Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation in memory of Jon B. Lovelace. The collection will provide a valuable visual portrait of California at the beginning of the 21st century and will be given to the Library copyright-free. The images will be housed in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.

These photographs are part of Highsmith’s This Is America! project, which will document America state by state over the next 15 years.

Highsmith completed her first state, Alabama, in 2010, with the financial support of George F. Landegger, who also funded her work in Washington D.C. and Connecticut. The George F. Landegger Alabama Collection, as well as the Highsmith archive, can be viewed in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog at www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/highsm/.

Highsmith, who has documented American life and architecture for more than 30 years, began donating her life’s work to the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress in 1992. The collection is expected to grow to more than 100,000 photographs covering all of the United States. Highsmith has generously dedicated the rights for these images to the American people, thereby providing copyright-free access and making her archive a worldwide visual resource.

Highsmith employs the latest technology, using cameras that range from 23 to 36, 39 and 80 megapixels.

The Prints and Photographs Division is responsible for acquiring, preserving, and making available the Library's unique and vast collection of visual materials, which includes more than 15 million photographs, historical prints, posters, cartoons, fine-art prints, and architectural and engineering designs. The division’s online collections can be viewed at www.loc.gov/pictures/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 151 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


PR 12-125
ISSN 0731-3527