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Jonathan Morris
Jonathan Morris

Photograph Ov

In the early stages of the Cuban missile crisis, this photograph showed that the Soviet Union was amassing offensive ballistic missiles in Cuba. President John F. Kennedy warned that any attempt by the Soviet Union to place nuclear weapons in Cuba would be seen as a threat to the United States.

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Throughout 1962, in the midst of the Cold War, the movement of Soviet personnel and equipment to Cuba had aroused suspicions in the American intelligence community. In response, U.S. ships and planes began photographing every Cuba-bound Soviet vessel, and U-2 spy planes began regular reconnaissance flights over the island, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

Bad weather in the Caribbean the week of October 7, 1962, prevented American U-2 surveillance planes from making more reconnaissance flights over Fidel Castro's Cuba. But Sunday morning, October 14, was cloudless, and the U-2 flight took photographs that, over the next few days, were analyzed and reanalyzed.

These photographs provided positive proof of what the United States had for months suspected: that the Soviet Union was installing medium-range nuclear weapons in Cuba, capable of striking major U.S. cities and killing tens of millions of Americans within minutes. With the October 14 photographs, the United States caught the Soviet Union building offensive nuclear missile bases in its backyard, and the two superpowers were now joined in the first direct nuclear confrontation in history.

In a televised address on October 22, 1962, President Kennedy informed the American people of the presence of missile sties in Cuba. When the United States put a naval blockade in place around Cuba, tensions mounted, and the world wondered if there could be a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Kennedy's speech drew wide support in Latin America and among U.S. allies. The Pentagon continued plans for possible air strikes and a land invasion. Several Soviet vessels turned back from the quarantine line set by the navel blockade, and during a televised confrontation with the Soviet Union in the United Nations, the United States presented photographic proof of the missiles.

The family portrait remains the first and only time a spacecraft has attempted to photograph our home solar system. Only three spacecraft have been capable of making such an observation from such a distance: Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and New Horizons.

Summary: More than 6,000 special portrait photographs, called ambrotypes and tintypes, and small card photos called cartes de visite represent both Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Tom Liljenquist and his sons Jason, Brandon, and Christian built this collection in memory of President Abraham Lincoln and the estimated 620,000-850,000 Union and Confederate servicemen who died in the American Civil War. For many, these photographs are the last known record we have of who they were and what they looked like. See "From the Donor's Perspective--The Last Full Measure" for the full story. The Liljenquist Family began donating their collection to the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division in 2010 and continues to add to it.

Glimpses of Soldiers' Lives A set of essays offers glimpses of the lives of particular soldiers--what they ate and whom they missed, how far they marched in the mud, when they were wounded or captured or at last discharged. The biographies are accompanied by relevant photographs and drawings from Library of Congress collections that depict where individuals fought or were imprisoned. Additional essays are found in the research guide, "Civil War Men and Women: Glimpses of Their Lives Through Photography".

Sascha Fonseca captured this image during a three-year bait-free camera-trap project in Leh, Ladakh, India, high in the Indian Himalayas. Because of their remote habitat, they are one of the most difficult large cats to photograph in the wild. Sascha Fonseca/Wildlife Photographer of the Year hide caption

The Photograph Conservation Department is dedicated to conserving and researching photographs, time-based media, and bound volumes, spanning from the earliest photographic experiments through the emergence of the digital era to the present day. The Department is part of the Sherman Fairchild Center for Works on Paper and Photograph Conservation.

Photographs are created with a combination of optics, light, and chemistry, and despite their relatively brief history, represent an enormous range of physical formats and aesthetic possibilities. Photographs have transformed the way we see our world and continue to fascinate viewers with their seemingly magical ability to reflect back the world around us. They can be delicate objects, sensitive to the environments in which they are stored and exhibited, and vulnerable when handled and used. The Met conservators are dedicated to ensuring that the photographs in the Museum's unparalleled collections receive the finest preservation and conservation attention available.

The Met employed its first Photograph Conservator to care for, document, and research the Museum's photographic collections in 1990, initially as a part of the Paper Conservation Department and then within the curatorial Department of Photographs. In recognition of the importance of this distinct area of expertise, and the photograph conservators' international reputation for excellence, Photograph Conservation was established as an independent Museum Department in 2015. Between 1990 and the present, photograph conservation grew from one part-time conservator to encompass three specialists in photograph conservation, a book conservator focused on albums and photographically-illustrated books, a time-based media conservator, an administrator, and an endowed Research Scholar, operating today in a dedicated state-of-the-art lab.

The state-of-the-art conservation lab has the facilities and equipment essential to study, document, and conserve the Museum's photographic and time-based media (TBM) collections, from daguerreotypes to photograph albums to born-digital video art. A separate lab dedicated to TBM art conservation is close by. Through visual examination and non-destructive materials analysis, often undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Scientific Research, Photograph Conservation brings to light information about artists' techniques and the history of the medium, and helps to inform preventive conservation policies for exhibition, loan, and storage.

Photograph Conservation regularly welcomes fellows and interns into the Department, providing the opportunity to work side by side with conservators in a lab actively engaged in conservation, preventive conservation and research. Given the relative youth of both photograph and time-based media conservation, we are committed to nurturing and growing these critical areas of conservation specialization.

Research Scholarship in Photograph ConservationSpecific to the Department of Photograph Conservation, the Research Scholar fellowship is a two- to three-year fellowship to conduct a research project based on the Museum's resources and its collections of photographs, in addition to participating in the preservation- and exhibition-related activities of the Photograph Conservation lab. The Research Scholar position is considered a Senior Conservation Fellowship.Learn more and how to apply

Get an up-close view and understanding of a variety of photograph album structures documented during an ambitious item-level preventive conservation survey of the over a thousand photograph albums and photographically illustrated books held in the Department of Photographs.

Get to know the people who care for the art. The Photograph Conservation Department is staffed by three photograph conservators, a book conservator, a time-based media conservator, and an administrator.

With steadfast commitment and support from our community, The Met's Department of Photograph Conservation continues to thrive and be a crucial resource for the preservation of works of art, as well as a vibrant center for research. If you would like to hear more about our work or how to get involved, please contact

Wildlife Photographer of the Year tells the story of a planet under pressure. Help us harness the power of photography to advance scientific knowledge, spread awareness of important issues and nurture a global love for nature.

Late last year, the Van Gogh Museum announced that a photographic portrait that was long thought to be of the 13-year-old Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) is actually of his brother Theo (1857-1891), aged 15. The research that led to this discovery has now been published.

The photograph only came to light after World War II. In 1957, Van Gogh researcher Mark Edo Tralbaut identified Vincent as the boy in the photograph. There was some merit in the observation: the boy in the photo does somewhat resemble the 19-year-old Vincent in another confirmed photograph of him. The photograph rapidly gained worldwide fame as the definitive portrait of the artist in his youth.

Uncertainty only set in a few years ago. Research revealed that the photograph in question was taken by photographer Balduin Schwarz in Brussels. It could never have been the 13-year-old Vincent in the photograph, as Schwarz only set up his studio in the Belgian capital in 1870. By then, Vincent had already turned 17. The boy in the photograph is clearly younger than 17 years old.

Early in 1873, the 15-year-old Theo moved to Brussels to work for the Goupil & Cie gallery. We know from his correspondence that Theo had a photographic portrait of himself made soon after he arrived, but the whereabouts of this photograph were not known at the time. Various sources emphasise that the brothers share a likeness, with Theo being a somewhat refined version of Vincent.

Following further comparison with images of Theo and additional forensic research, the unequivocal conclusion could be reached that for the last 60 years, the photograph was at the heart of a case of mistaken identity. 041b061a72

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