Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America’s Library is the result of celebrated American photography curator Anne Wilkes Tucker’s excavation of nearly 500 images—out of a collection of over 14 million—permanently housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. While visitors to the exhibit might never see an ostrich, they will see the image entitled “Not an Ostrich,” and a large selection of rare and handpicked works from the vaults of the world’s largest library, many previously inaccessible to the public.
This exhibit spans across the history of photography—from the daguerreotype to the “selfie”—juxtaposing recent 21st century color images by Carol Highsmith with late-19th and early-20th century hand-colored prints from the Detroit Photographic Company. Iconic portraits of Abraham Lincoln, John and Yoko, Cesar Chavez and Elizabeth Taylor, appear alongside unusual images, such as, Stanley Kubrick’s “Strong Man’s Wife and 11-Month-Old Son” (1947), John Vachon’s “Want to Meet a Real Cowboy?” (1958), Susana Raab’s “Chicken in Love, Athens, OH” (2004-9) and Nina Berman’s “Flammable Faucet #4, Monroeton, PA” (2011).
A nation’s story is a reflection of its collective—and selective—memory. Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America’s Library invites visitors to look how far America has come and where we might be headed next.
A documentary film—produced by the Annenberg Foundation—and an installation at the Annenberg Space for Photography’s Skylight Studios will also be featured.