Everyone Smile and Say, ‘Democracy!’

BY Arts Desk  December 17, 2009 at 1:28 PM EDT

The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words may indeed be true, but photographer Joe Sohm has found that it has taken him thousands of pictures to capture just one word: democracy.

Sohm’s over thirty year journey took him to all fifty states where he found and photographed everything from the president in the White House to the homeless of Beverly Hills.

“My portrait of America is not all Norman Rockwell,” Sohm said. “There’s an attempt to be three-dimensional.”

“I never had an assignment for these photos,” said Sohm, who recently appeared at the Newseum in Washington to promote his new book, “Visions of America.”

His images have appeared in National Geographic, Newsweek and Time Magazine, and were featured prominently in ‘The Choice 2008,’ a PBS Frontline documentary on the presidential campaign.

Art Beat caught up with Sohm outside the Newseum.