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American Icons; 'Picturing What Matters' is a Photo Survey Loaded with Emotion



Among these included are Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham, Walker Evans, Aaron Siskind, Lewis Hine, Margaret Bourke-White and Paul Strand. In the case of Ansel Adams and Yosemite, it is the icon photographing the icon.

Not all of the memorable works are by renowned photographers. The 1912 "View of Luna Park," Coney Island, by George P. Hall and Son, is dream-like and wondrous. And Will Connell's circa 1937 "Hands and Baby" -- in which a pair of, by comparison, giant, tanned, laborer's hands interlock fingers to support a white-clothed infant -- is both moving and arresting in its bare-bones depiction of vulnerability and protectiveness.

More pedigreed is W. Eugene Smith's 1946 "The Walk to Paradise Garden" showing, from behind, the photographer's two very young children emerging from a shady woodland path into the daylight. The only slightly taller and slightly in-the-lead boy and his curly-haired sister lean in toward one another as they make their way forward, a picture of innocence and promise.

Westmoreland curator Barbara Jones says that Smith had been seriously injured as a war correspondent in Okinawa. "This is the first picture he took after he returned. It's very symbolic."

Pre-9/11, Smith's image may have been dismissed as being too precious. That's the very quality that elevates it now.

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The museum invites visitors to bring or send a copy of a personal photo "that represents your values, hopes or dreams." They'll be taped, among the many others already posted, to the wall of an adjacent gallery. For submission guidelines, visit the museum Web site at www.wmuseumaa.org.



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