American Portrait 2006

As we all should be painfully aware by now, December was the bloodiest month for US soldiers--and civilians--in Iraq since 2004, as the total number of Americans killed surpassed 3,000 yesterday. Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth just submitted his best-0f-2006 list to go into a new-year's post at the Walker blogs tomorrow, and his pick for single best photo of the year was a moving one (above). Photographer Todd Heisler's view of 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey's casket being loaded into a plane in Reno, Nevada shows passengers of the commercial jet peering down through tiny windows. The shot was part of a series that won Heisler a Pulitzer, and as Alec puts it, it's "perhaps the best portrait of America in 2006 -- the year we finally looked out the window (and in the mirror)."

Here's to a more peaceful 2007.

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