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Charles L. Mitchell

The Pool, White Mountains
about 1890
salted paper print
9 1/2 x 7 5/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

An imaginary intersection of the falls and water line divides this scene into four nearly equal quadrants. This straightforward compositional device and the picture’s clarity epitomize Charles Mitchell’s opposition to the soft focus, “arty” images so popular in the 1890s. An amateur Philadelphia photographer, Mitchell often visited New Hampshire to photograph the same vistas that continue to lure vacationers to the White Mountains.