But as far as Lemke is concerned, his best photograph isn’t his best-known or best-selling. It’s an image he captured in 1986, while visiting a remote village in Yugoslavia (now Croatia). “It was shot on a long, curving road that rose above the village,” he says. “I knew as soon as I took it that it was going to turn out well. You can see so far into the distance.”
Lemke, who prefers to work with real film that he develops into black and white prints using traditional gelatin silver, says that he loves the image’s clarity and texture so much that he recently had it reprinted at a larger size. “I’m still fascinated by it after all those years,” he says. “Every time I stop to study it, I see something in it that I hadn’t noticed before.”
Planning a trip to D.C. in the next few months? You can see Lemke’s Glenn & Jerusha on view at the National Portrait Gallery through August of 2020.