Snapshot Nation

The mission of Snapshot Nation is to surface previously under, or unexamined social history and cultural roots of communities. Through images and personal stories, we seek to uncover and preserve the past, and, in turn, better understand the present.

Snapshot Nation, NFP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Fiscal Sponsorships

Publication of

Lost in America: Photographing the Last Days of Our Architectural Treasures

by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams

Based on the remarkable photo archive of the Historic American Buildings Survey, Lost in America tells powerful stories of places that should still be here, from adobe huts to New York skyscrapers. Some - like New York’s Penn Station and Chicago’s Stock Exchange - were majestic. Others - like a tiny bridge in rural Montana and a small farmstead torn down for Denver’s International Airport - were modest. But they all reflected America’s story before they were razed. Using haunting black-and-white images by the nation’s top architectural photographers, the book presents a timely look at what we’ve lost.

This publication is made possible through support from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Additional funding was provided by Pine Needles Charitable Trust.

Publication and Second Printing of

River of Blood: American Slavery from the People Who Lived It

Interviews & Photographs of Formerly Enslaved African Americans
edited by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams

In the late 1930s, the federal government embarked on an unusual project. As a part of the Works Progress Administration’s efforts to give jobs to unemployed Americans, government workers tracked down 3,000 men and women who had been enslaved before and during the Civil War. The workers asked them probing questions about slave life. The result was a remarkable compilation of interviews known as the Slave Narratives. This book highlights those narratives - condensing tens of thousands of pages into short excerpts from about 100 former slaves. It pairs their accounts with their portraits, taken by the workers sent to record their stories.

Funding provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation – empowering world-changing work.

Second Printing of

Behind Barbed Wire: Searching for Japanese Americans Incarcerated During World War II

words and photographs by Paul Kitagaki, Jr.

Paul Kitagaki, Jr. tracked down the subjects of more than sixty photographs taken by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and other photographers. He photographed and interviewed the subjects or their children to discover who was in the picture. Each adds their unique personal history.Using black-and-white film and a large-format camera similar to the equipment of photographers in the 1940s, Kitagaki sought to mirror and complement photographs taken during World War II - while revealing the strength and perseverance of the subjects.

Funding provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation – empowering world-changing work.

Publication of

At Home in Chicago: A Living History of Domestic Architecture

by Patrick F. Cannon with Photographs by James Caulfield

The authors travel across the metropolitan region to present an eye-opening look at the city’s 200-year history through different home styles. They inspect houses built before the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, walk through the mansions that rose during the Gilded Age, check out the apartments finished before the Depression, and scrutinize mid-century and new-century homes. An intimate view of signficant residences includes Frank Lloyd Wright’s sleek Robie House, Mies van der Rohe’s groundbreaking 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, Jeanne Gang’s sublime Aqua Tower.

This publication is made possible through support from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Publication of

Chicago: Classic Photographs

edited by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams

Chicago has produced some of the most important photographers of our time — Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Art Shay — but has never before possessed a book packed with their most timeless work. This is the finest collection of its kind — 225 stunning images by the city’s most revered photographers that show the enduring and endearing aspects of Chicago and its landscape from the Loop to the city’s vast array of neighborhoods.

This publication is made possible through support from the W M Foundation.

Publication of

Gotta Go Gotta Flow

poems by Patricia Smith
photographs by Michael Abramson

“It was a living self-contained theater.” That’s how Michael Abramson described his years photographing Peppers Hideout, Perv’s House, the High Chaparral, the Patio Lounge, and the Showcase Lounge on Chicago’s South Side in the 1970s.

Patricia Smith, a poet who grew up not far from these South Side clubs, took a look at Abramson’s photos nearly four decades later and brought his night world back to life. “These fiercely breathing visuals are a last link,” she says, “to the unpredictable, blade-edged and relentlessly funky city I once knew.”

Funding provided by The Reva and David Logan Foundation.


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