Let it rain...

To honor the incredibly wild and wet weather we have lately endured and enjoyed in Washington, DC, I took a quick search through the online Smithsonian collections for waterfalls. I imagine the water is running quite high—in nature, not I hope in the archives—this time of year. Several collections stood out, including the views made by 19th century photographs for expeditions to all parts of the world and the mid-20th century images made by Eliot Elisofon on assignment in Africa for magazines or corporate clients. Whether as unbridled nature or harnessed for industrial use, waterfalls figure as a prominent landscape subject.

Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, View across the Top of the Falls (Wheeler Survey), 1874, by Timo

Merry Foresta is the Former Director of the Smithsonian Photography Initiative.

Produced by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. For copyright questions, please see the Terms of Use.