A Visit to the Library of Congress Pt. Two

© Catherine Wagner

It’s always a real treat to see original prints of great work and look at what the LOC is collecting.  A new discovery for me were the gorgeous 20×24″ silver gelatin prints of American classrooms taken in the 80’s by West Coast photographer Catherine Wagner called “American Classroom”.  The large format photographs capture the intense detail of the classrooms. In one a message scrawled on a perhaps first generation apple screen is a poignant memoir of a teens’ difficulties:

When I entered the dance studio I was surprised to find an atmosphere that was serious, yet joyful. That I did not know at that time was how this bare simple place would re-build my somewhat shattered life.

When I was nine my mom and dad broke up. They fought over everything they did. One night I was up in my room doing my homework and my mom came in and told me that she was moving away that night. She said she was going to California on a nine oclock . . …

© Catherine Wagner

© Catherine Wagner

Also out for my viewing pleasure were Phyllis Galembo‘s luscious color-saturated portraits of African’s in traditional and modern costumes.  All photographic outputs have their strengths and purposes, but for real viewing pleasure nothing beats a great print. Galembo serves this up in spades.  Palettes, pose, and ensembles are phenomenal!

© Phyllis Galembo

© Phyllis Galembo

© Phyllis Galembo

I was pleased to note that Jen Davis is represented. Her prints are bold and beautiful:

© Jen Davis

Scattered throughout the place willy-nilly are delightful unknown (at least to me) images (vintage prints!) by photographers we all know and love. Here, you have the American Gothic lady, Ella Watson, US Govt Charwoman in an alternate view by Mr. Gordon Parks.

A gorgeous Ben Shahn depression era photo of cotton pickers, “At the End of the Day.”

Dorothea Lange’s Salvation Army photograph of a girl’s sunday school class at an open-air meeting.


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