Our America: A Photographic History

In the introduction to Our America: A Photographic History, filmmaker Ken Burns describes his life's calling as "trying to tell complicated stories about history, particularly the visual history of our even more complicated country." And that is precisely what he does in this stunning collection of more than 200 carefully curated black-and-white images. Accompanied by a preface by Sarah Hermanson Meister, MoMA's photography curator, and steeped in the "myriad tensions" of American history, these chronologically ordered photographs show majestic vistas of American natural beauty alongside closer images of individual Americans: men at work and at war; women quilting and protesting; people living and dying. Each image on its own is an invitation to consider what story an image can tell about a moment and includes detailed endnotes that document, for curious readers, the context of each photo. Collectively, the photos in Our America are a tribute and a revelation, offering a sweeping view of a nation born of both building and destruction. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer

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