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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

LIFE Magazine and the Power of Photography


Museum of Fine Arts / Boston / Art

Although Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s 1969 moon landing was streamed live on television for an eager, Earth-bound audience, the image of a man on the moon was fleeting. That is, until two weeks later, when Life magazine published an astonishing portfolio of photos from the surface of the moon. Life, released weekly from 1936 to 1972—then monthly until 2000—not only gave readers visual access to historic events, it framed 20th-century narratives, pulse points like the Birmingham civil rights demonstrations, the Kennedy-Nixon debates, the Vietnam War. Vintage photographs, contact sheets, and assignment outlines are among the 180 objects that make up this exhibition. —J.D.

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