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Double Exposure book cover

Robert Sullivan with Double Exposure: Resurveying the West with Timothy O'Sullivan, America's Most Mysterious War Photographer

Author Event
July 15, 2024 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. ET

Timothy O’Sullivan is America’s most famous war photographer. His image A Harvest of Death, taken at Gettysburg, is an icon of the Civil War.  His next subject was the American West. Join the celebrated writer Robert Sullivan for a discussion of the artist’s life and work, the history of photography and our country, as he follows O’Sullivan’s path on his own personal exploration of the West.

The acclaimed Civil War photography Timothy O’Sullivan was among the first photographers to elevate what was then a trade to the status of fine art. The images of the American West he made after the war, while traveling with the surveys led by Clarence King and George Wheeler, display a prescient awareness of what photography would become. At the same time, we know very little about O’Sullivan the man and landscapes he captured. Robert Sullivan’s Double Exposure sets off in pursuit of these two enigmas. This book documents the author’s own road trip across the West in search of the places, many long forgotten or paved over, that O’Sullivan pictured. It also shows how changes to our country and its landscape were already under way in the 1860s and '70s, and how these changes were a continuation of the Civil War.

Robert Sullivan is known for his probing investigations of place in the pages of The New Yorker and previous books such as Rats, The Meadowlands, A Whale Hunt, and My American Revolution. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, A Public Space, and Vogue. He was born in New York City, worked for many years in Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the recipient of a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship.

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