The Joy of Looking

Great Photographs from the Library of Congress

By Aimee Hess, Hannah Freece

The Joy of Looking

134 pp., 8 x 8, 108 color images, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8444-9584-2
    Published: March 2023

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Distributed for the Library of Congress

Since photography’s invention in the early nineteenth century, the medium has produced countless thought-provoking images. The Library of Congress holds more than seventeen million photographs in its collections, ranging from some of the earliest images ever taken to photographs by artists working today. The Joy of Looking: Great Photographs from the Library of Congress presents a selection of striking photographs that deserve a closer look.

Both familiar and less well-known photographs appear in this volume. Dorothea Lange’s 1936 portrait of Florence Owens Thompson, commonly known as “Migrant Mother,” is widely celebrated for humanizing the plight of struggling migrant workers during the Great Depression. Others, like street photographer Anthony Angel’s lively series of two women sitting on a New York City park bench in 1952, were unknown during the photographer’s lifetime and deserve greater attention.

The Joy of Looking invites you to explore the myriad ways the photos in this collection can be experienced. Explore shape and movement; light and darkness; color and textures. Consider connections and conversations between photos. The longer you look, the more you’ll see.

About the Series: Collection Close-Ups celebrate the diversity, breadth, and depth of Library of Congress collections by gathering about 100 items around a common theme or set of characteristics. These short, affordable, and accessible books bring Library collections to life through historical anecdotes, colorful images, descriptive captions, and sidebars.

About the Authors

Aimee Hess is managing editor of the Library of Congress Publishing Office. She is the author of biographies of Helen Keller and Margaret Mead for the Library’s Women Who Dare Series.
For more information about Aimee Hess, visit the Author Page.

Hannah Freece is a writer-editor in the Library’s Publishing Office. The two previously collaborated on Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote. Carla D. Hayden is the fourteenth Librarian of Congress
For more information about Hannah Freece, visit the Author Page.

Carla D. Hayden is the fourteenth Librarian of Congress.
For more information about Carla D. Hayden, visit the Author Page.