This is America! is a nonprofit foundation, launched in 2012, that is raising funds to produce a monumental, nationwide visual study of the United States in the early 21st Century.
The This is California! Web site and the hard-cover book of photographer Carol M.Highsmith’s California images are the product of the second state study in this effort. The first, completed in 2010 and 2011, produced unforgettable current images of the State of Alabama.
Over the next 15 years, This is America! will produce more than 100,000 of Highsmith’s highest-resolution digital images, and online “Americana” blogs by recently retired Voice of America journalist Ted Landphair, covering every state of the Union as well as many U.S. territories.
The This is America! Foundation’s Advisory Board includes C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, presidential historians Douglas Brinkley and Harold Holzer, and noted actor and environmentalist Sam Waterston.
The Foundation’s body of work is being donated, copyright-free, to the Library of Congress, the world’s greatest collection of human knowledge and achievement. Thus it will be available to anyone, anywhere in the world, without restriction.
The images and words constitute a comprehensive study of the nation the likes of which has not even been attempted since photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and their Farm Security Administration colleagues set out across America during the Great Depression three quarters of a century ago.
The This is America! project focuses on not only the nation’s built environment and monuments, landscapes and glorious national and state parks, and human interactions, but also what Highsmith calls “Disappearing America” – slices of American life threatened by technological change, rampant development, and widespread cultural homogenization.
In addition to their donation to the nation’s greatest Library, This is America’s digital photographs will be presented at no cost to the states and communities visited, benefiting teachers and students, historical societies, and development and promotional activities.
The This is America! Foundation welcomes, and needs, financial underwriting from foundations, benefactors, and ordinary citizens who support this ambitious and historic effort to produce and preserve an invaluable record of our times for generations to come.