The mission of the This is America! Foundation is to produce a nationwide visual study of the United States in the early 21st Century.
This is America! will produce more than 100,000 digital photographs covering every state in the Union as well many U.S. territories. The entire body of work will be donated, copyright-free to the Library of Congress, the world’s greatest collection of human knowledge and achievement.
The Library of Congress which is the largest library in the world and the largest federal cultural institution, has than 158 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 36 million books and other print materials; the most comprehensive collection of American music in the world; more than 22 million items including 3.5 million recordings; 14.4 million visual images, including the most comprehensive international collection of posters in the world; 6.7 million pieces of sheet music; 69 million manuscripts; more than 3.5 million sound recordings and 1.7 million film, television and video items, representing over a century of audiovisual production.
This Is America! Foundation expeditions will produce the first comprehensive visual study of the entire nation since the documentation of the Depression and Dust Bowl era by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and their Farm Security Administration colleagues 75 years ago.
Over 15 years, This Is America! will produce more than 100,000 highest-resolution digital photographs from every state and many U.S. territories, their built environments, landscapes, and human interactions in the complex and fast-changing early years of the 21st Century.
Acclaimed photographer Carol M. Highsmith makes a particular point of capturing scenes of “disappearing America,” slices of American life threatened by technological change, rampant development, and widespread cultural homogenization.
The photographic images record resulting from these journeys will be donated, copyright-free, to the Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution that is often called “America’s Memory.”
There, this legacy of our times will be available for the unfettered use of current and future students, historians, journalists -- indeed anyone on earth. The world’s largest library desperately needs such an archive, as the overwhelming majority of its visual holdings, produced on black-and-white film, as woodcuts, or as daguerreotype prints, predate 1950.
The This is America! digital photographs will also be presented at no cost to the states and communities visited, benefiting historical societies, development and promotional activities, and educational programs.