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History Center

In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
November 21, 2008 - January 18, 2009

Created by National Geographic and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, In Focus reveals that it is possible to portray the essence of people and places in two dimensions. In Focus brings together a rare collection of black and white and color expressive portraits and scenes from around the world and here at home. This collection of outstanding images, shot from the early 20th century to the late 1990s, not only parallels the Society’s interest in the ethnographic study of “exotic” lands, but also reveals the magazine’s idealized view of domestic life in the United States during the Great Depression and World War II. From Steve McCurry?s haunting image of the green-eyed Afghan girl to lesser known scenes of tribal leaders, fishermen, and American workers, In Focus takes viewers around the globe and through the heights and depths of human emotion.