Contrary to what some might have you believe, American identity can look like many things. These Ellis Island immigration photos prove it.
As a clerk at Ellis Island from 1892-1925, Augustus Sherman was in a unique position to document countless immigrants as they attempted to gain entrance into the United States.
The untrained photographer had an undeniable natural talent: Even with bulky cameras and the time-consuming exposure process they required, Sherman was able to take more than 200 photos — of subjects typically detained for interrogation — that reveal as much about the subjects’ fears as they do the diverse reality of our national heritage (all photos taken by Augustus Sherman from 1905 to 1914):
An Albanian soldier.
Some hopeful immigrants could be held on Ellis Island for days, or even weeks, before being approved or deported.
While the Vietnam War raged — roughly two decades’ worth of bloody and world-changing years — compelling images made their way out of the combat zones. On television screens and magazine pages around the world, photographs told a story of a fight that only got more confusing, more devastating, as it went on. As Jon Meacham describes in this week’s issue of TIME, the pictures from that period can help illuminate the “demons” of Vietnam.
And, in the decades since, the most striking of those images have retained their power. Think of the War in Vietnam and the image in your mind is likely one that was first captured on film, and then in the public imagination. How those photographs made history is underscored throughout the new documentary series The Vietnam War, from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The series features a wide range of war images, both famous and forgotten.
Some people have selected an image from the period that they found particularly significant, and explained why that photograph moved them the most…
Here, lightly edited, are their responses!
Mount Pinatubo volcano eruption in 1991.