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Zoom Backgrounds from the Library of Congress

Album Description

It's not easy to find photographs that work well as Zoom backgrounds. After all, the majority of photographs have centers of interest smack dab in the center where your own talking head needs to be!

I thought it would be fun to collect a few Zoom backgrounds from the Library of Congress, but it's not as if one can search on empty center or missing a focal point! I figured a variety of general landscapes might work, as well as certain photos of Library of Congress buildings (both interior and exterior), gardens, and seasonal shots. I kind of like the idea of looking for photographs from your own state or city, too, to give your Zoom box a little local flair.

It's clear from the beginnings of this album that I have a preference for photographs from the Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive, particularly for their bold colors. If you go to the Highsmith collection at the Library, you can limit your searches to that collection only. You could also try browsing the Free to Use and Reuse Sets at the Library. 

Please add more photos and enjoy a fresh Zoom experience!

Technical note:

It's super easy to add a background while you're in a Zoom meeting. Click on the ^ symbol to the right of the video icon and select video settings. Click Virtual Background and select the new background you'd like to use. (You'll need to add a photo to the virtual backgrounds box first, but all you have to do is click on the + sign and choose it from your computer.) Of course, there are many platforms out there, plus ios and android, plus many devices. I think this help page from Zoom covers just about everything you're likely to use, although it's kind of overkill: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/210707503-Virtual-Background

  Zoom   photography   online learning 

A sculpted bronze male figure representing physical labor and a female figure representing intellectual labor

This photograph from the exterior of the Library of Congress John Adams Building works well for Zoom meetings because the figures are to the right and left of the person speaking. I did discover that I needed to crop off the figures' legs. Otherwise, Zoom cut off their heads! I need to look into more details of length vs. width, apparently.

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2007.
Subject Headings: -  Library of Congress John Adams Building (Washington, D.C.)--2000-2010
Notes: -  Title devised by Library staff.
-  Forms part of the Library of Congress Series in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id: highsm 02795 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.02795

Great Hall, second floor, north. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: [between 1980 and 2006]
Subject Headings: -  Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building (Washington, D.C.)--1980-2010
-  United States--District of Columbia--Washington (D.C.)
Notes: -  Digital image produced by Carol M. Highsmith to represent her original film transparency; some details may differ between the film and the digital images.
-  Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift and purchase; Carol M. Highsmith; 2011; (DLC/PP-2011:124).
-  More information about the Highsmith Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.highsm
-  Forms part of the Selects Series in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
-  Forms part of the Library of Congress Series in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 13970 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.13970

Main Reading Room. View from above showing researcher desks. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2009.
Subject Headings: -  Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building (Washington, D.C.)--2000-2010
-  Reading rooms--Washington (D.C.)--2000-2010
Notes: -  Title devised by Library staff.
-  Gift; Carol M. Highsmith 2011; (DLC/PP-2002:038)
-  Forms part of the Library of Congress Series in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 11604 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.11604

Lagoon in the Shofu-en Japanese Garden (Garden of Pines and Wind in English) at the Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, Colorado

I picked this gorgeous photo from my own State of Colorado. What would you choose from your own state? 

  Colorado    Denver Botanic Gardens  

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2015-08-12.
Subject Headings: -  United States--Colorado--Denver
-  America
-  Shofu-en Japanese Garden
-  Denver Botanic Gardens
-  Botanical gardens
-  Lagoons
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2010-2020
Notes: -  Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: Gates Frontiers Fund Colorado Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift; Gates Frontiers Fund; 2015; (DLC/PP-2015:068).
-  Forms part of: Gates Frontiers Fund Colorado Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 33575 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.33575

Mural in Wisconsin

If you're tired of social distancing, try picking a mural with lots of figures in it! The Highsmith collection includes many photographs of murals across the United States.

  murals  

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: [between 1980 and 2006]
Subject Headings: -  United States--Wisconsin
-  America
Notes: -  Digital image produced by Carol M. Highsmith to represent her original film transparency; some details may differ between the film and the digital images.
-  Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift and purchase; Carol M. Highsmith; 2011; (DLC/PP-2011:124).
-  Forms part of the Selects Series in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 16315 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.16315

Idaho farm and field

What images can you find from your state? This beautiful photograph leaves a spot for a Zoom speaker in the center. 

  Idaho    landscape photography  

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2005 June 19.
Subject Headings: -  United States--Idaho
-  America
-  Farms
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2000-2010
Notes: -  Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift and purchase; Carol M. Highsmith; 2009; (DLC/PP-2010:031).
-  Forms part of: Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
-  Exhibited as a digital copy in: "Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America's Library" at the Annenberg Space for Photography, 2018; Highsmith section.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 18361 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.18361

Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2007 April 2.
Subject Headings: -  United States--District of Columbia--Washington (D.C.)
-  Washington Monument
-  Cherry trees
-  Spring
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2000-2010
Notes: -  Caption label from exhibit "Sakura": Twenty-First century Sakura. In this contemporary view of the Tidal Basin blossoms, the Washington Monument obelisk soars between earth and sky. Photographer Carol M. Highsmith is documenting the cities, towns and countryside of 21st-century America, and the life of its people, then donating the images copyright-free to the Library of Congress to ensure worldwide access and preservation. Highsmith is a Maryland resident who credits pioneering D.C. photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston as a key influence on her work.
-  Style: "Neutral."
-  Title, date, and subjects provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift and purchase; Carol M. Highsmith; 2009; (DLC/PP-2010:031).
-  Forms part of: Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
-  Exhibited: "Sakura : Cherry Blossom as Living Symbol of Friendship" in the Graphic Arts Gallery, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 2012.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 04037 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.04037

Trees in Conejos County, Colorado, near the New Mexico border

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2015-09-30.
Subject Headings: -  United States--Colorado--Conejos County
-  America
-  Trees
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2010-2020
Notes: -  Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: Gates Frontiers Fund Colorado Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift; Gates Frontiers Fund; 2015; (DLC/PP-2015:068).
-  Forms part of: Gates Frontiers Fund Colorado Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 36032 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.36032

The pool at the colorful Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs, California

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2013.
Subject Headings: -  United States--California--Palm Springs
-  America
-  Modern architecture
-  Saguaro Hotel
-  Hotels
-  Peter Stamberg
-  Peter Aferiat
-  Swimming pools
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2010-2020
Notes: -  Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer.
-  When the Sydell Group acquired the hotel in 2011, it hired architects Peter Stamberg and Peter Aferiat infuse local colors into the property. They selected a palette of 12 vibrant tones found in native desert wildflowers. The color set follows the light spectrum, which creates different perspectives according to the time of day.
-  Credit line: The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift; The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation in memory of Jon B. Lovelace; 2012; (DLC/PP-2012:063).
-  Forms part of: Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 24106 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.24106

Saguaro Cactus near Tucson, Arizona

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2008 April 4.
Subject Headings: -  United States--Arizona--Tucson
-  Saguaro cactus
-  America
-  Southwest
-  Deserts
-  Saguaros
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2000-2010
Notes: -  The saguaro, is a large, tree-sized cactus species native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican state of Sonora, and an extremely small area of California. The saguaro blossom is the state flower of Arizona.
-  Title, date, and subjects provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift and purchase; Carol M. Highsmith; 2009; (DLC/PP-2010:031).
-  Forms part of: Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 04283 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.04283

A luxurient field of bluebonnets, the state flower, near Marble Falls in the Texas Hill Country

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2014-04-08.
Subject Headings: -  United States--Texas--Marble Falls
-  Bluebonnets
-  Wildflowers
-  Texas Hill Country
-  America
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2010-2020
Notes: -  Title, date, and keywords based on information provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift; The Lyda Hill Foundation; 2014; (DLC/PP-2014:054).
-  Forms part of: Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 28910 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.28910

Foster's Bighorn Bar and Restaurant in Rio Vista, California

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2012.
Subject Headings: -  United States--California--Rio Vista
-  Foster's Bighorn Bar
-  Lodi
-  Animals
-  Big-game
-  America
Notes: -  Located west of Lodi, the restaurant displays one of the most extensive collections of animal "trophy heads" in America. Bill Foster, a big-game hunter opened the restaurant in 1931.
-  Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer.
-  Credit line: The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
-  Gift; The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation in memory of Jon B. Lovelace; 2012; (DLC/PP-2012:063).
-  Forms part of: Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 23309 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.23309

The chemical laboratory where Edison's teams worked on chemicals that were used in batteries, phonograph records and other inventions, at The Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey

  STEM  

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2017-08-25.
Subject Headings: -  United States--New Jersey--West Orange
-  America
-  Thomas Edison National Historical Park
-  Chemical laboratories
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2010-2020
Notes: -  Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer.
-  Gift; Carol M. Highsmith Photography, Inc.; 2017; (DLC/PP-2016:103-8).
-  Forms part of Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
-  Credit line: Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 45493 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.45493

The chemical laboratory where Edison's teams worked on chemicals that were used in batteries, phonograph records and other inventions, at The Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey

  STEM  

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2017-08-25.
Subject Headings: -  United States--New Jersey--West Orange
-  America
-  Thomas Edison National Historical Park
-  Chemical laboratories
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2010-2020
Notes: -  Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer.
-  Gift; Carol M. Highsmith Photography, Inc.; 2017; (DLC/PP-2016:103-8).
-  Forms part of Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
-  Credit line: Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 45497 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.45497

One of two machine shops where Thomas Edison and his staff worked on new ideas and products at The Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey

  STEM  

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2017-08-25.
Subject Headings: -  United States--New Jersey--West Orange
-  America
-  Thomas Edison National Historical Park
-  Machine shops
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2010-2020
Notes: -  Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer.
-  Gift; Carol M. Highsmith Photography, Inc.; 2017; (DLC/PP-2016:103-8).
-  Forms part of Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
-  Credit line: Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 45488 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.45488

One of two machine shops where Thomas Edison and his staff worked on new ideas and products at The Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey

  STEM  

Reference note

Contributor Names: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Created / Published: 2017-08-25.
Subject Headings: -  United States--New Jersey--West Orange
-  America
-  Thomas Edison National Historical Park
-  Machine shops
Genre: Digital photographs--Color--2010-2020
Notes: -  Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer.
-  Gift; Carol M. Highsmith Photography, Inc.; 2017; (DLC/PP-2016:103-8).
-  Forms part of Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
-  Credit line: Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id: highsm 45491 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.45491