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The American President: Photographs from the Archives of The Associated Press Will Open at the Reading Public Museum

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Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:22 am

The Reading Public Museum is proud to present The American President: Photographs from the Archives of The Associated Press, opening September 13 and continuing through January 4, 2015.

The exhibition, sponsored locally by the historic Abraham Lincoln Hotel, showcases over 70 of the finest works by legendary AP photographers including Burroughs, Harris, Tasnadi, Daugherty, Edmonds, Applewhite and Dharapak, to name but a few.

 The opening of the Reading Public Museum Fall 2014 exhibitions, The American President, Call to Duty: World War Posters, and Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, can be celebrated by attending the 2nd annual “Night at The Museum” on Saturday, September 13, 2014. Invitations will be mailed, and information will be available on the Web site. To make reservations or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact Lindsay Crist at 610-371-5850 x230.

Presidential hopefuls burn bright, and then fade. Political parties and poll numbers rise and fall. Presidents pass the torch; administrations change. Through it all, one constant remains: The Associated Press’ coverage of the American president.

Ever since Zachary Taylor and the Whig Party won the White House more than 150 years ago, AP reporters and photographers have been the dominant source of presidential news for media across the U.S. and around the world. Since AP launched its WirePhoto service in 1935, the news cooperative has been no less committed to photographic coverage of the White House. AP photographers accompany the president everywhere. Wearying routine and photo ops can yield in an instant, to breaking news that moves the world and dominates front pages, broadcasts and Web sites.

Through their lenses, succeeding generations of AP ‘photodogs’ have captured both the ecstasy and agony of the American Presidency, and contributed in important ways to the historical record of each administration,” writes former President George H.W. Bush in the exhibition’s introduction.

The presidential beat has always attracted gifted photographers. Their work received the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for a series of pictures on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton; in 1993 for a series on the 1992 presidential campaign; in 1982 for Ron Edmond’s photographs of the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan; and in 1962 for Paul Vathis’ picture of President John F. Kennedy and President Dwight Eisenhower walking together at Camp David. Yet, like most AP correspondents, the names of AP photographers are largely unknown by the the general public.

For the journalists of the world’s oldest and largest news agency, the mandate of covering the White House remains the same as it was in Lincoln’s day: be accurate, be fair, and be fast. For photographers, who can never catch up to a missed opportunity, it means always keeping your eye on the president.

The Reading Public Museum is supported in part by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and is located at 500 Museum Road, Reading, Pa. Admission per day is: $10 adults (18-64), $6 children/seniors/college students (w/ID) and free to Members and children three years old and under. The Museum is open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Web: www.readingpublicmuseum.org

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