This year 50,000 snapshots from 132 different countries were submitted in the categories to Smithsonian Magazine's annual photo contest. We've selected 15 of our favorite entries from the contest, but there are many more that deserve recognition. See more unbelievably beautiful photographs at Smithsonian Magazine's website.
When Tracy Chevalier looks at paintings, she imagines the stories behind them: How did the painter meet his model? What would explain that look in her eye? Why is that man … blushing? She shares three stories inspired by portraits, including the one that led to her best-selling novel "Girl With a Pearl Earring."