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On V.J. Day in Times Square, a sailor kissing a pretty girl he's never met before is caught in the act. Newly arrived European immigrants at Ellis Island gaze at the camera with a mix of apprehension and hope. A groundbreaking still life artfully eroticizes the curves and shadows of a twisted bell pepper. These are a few of the more than 150 photographs collected in American Photography that document a century of our national experience. Whether viewed as a purely artistic medium, a tool for influencing public opinion, or a recorder of events both public and personal, photography has been a powerful and intimate vehicle for communicating our values and our dreams. Focusing on one or more images for each year, this companion book to the PBS series considers some of the century's best-known photographs as well as everyday snapshots, examining the diverse roles photography has played in shaping our lives.



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