Photography


The photography collection at Princeton is one of the leading museum collections in the country. The first photograph in the collection, a work by Alfred Stieglitz, was registered in 1949. In 1971, David Hunter McAlpin, Class of 1920, and Mrs. McAlpin donated their personal collection of nearly 500 photographs, including works by Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Imogen Cunningham, Charles Sheeler, and Edward Weston. Since then the department's holdings have grown to over 20,000 photographs by more than 900 artists, forming a comprehensive history of the medium from the 1840s to the present. Archives housed in the department include those of Minor White, Clarence H. White and the Clarence H. White School of Photography, Ruth Bernhard, and William B. Dyer. Photography at Princeton, an extensive catalogue of the collection, was published in 1998. The collection is available to students and scholars  through exhibition or viewing in the study room by appointment.

The Life and Death of Buildings

The Life and Death of Buildings—on view from July 23 through November 6, 2011—was a meditation on architecture, photography, and the ways they embody the past. The exhibition addressed the long-term flux of built environments—their birth and evolution, disappearance and excavation, re-use and re-invention—as a mode of continuity that defines history and civilization. It served as the capstone event in a yearlong collaborative exploration, MEMORY AND THE WORK OF ART, organized by arts and cultural organizations at Princeton University and in the Princeton community. The website combines selected objects and texts from the exhibition with related links.

New on View: Photography at Princeton

The photography collection serves the Museum's educational ambitions while capitalizing on one of its greatest abilities: the capacity to tell an effective and nuanced history of photography, from its very beginnings in the early nineteenth century to contemporary efforts. The breadth and depth of the collection can delight and surprise every time.

New Acquisition: Joel Meyerowitz photographs

Joel Meyerowitz, Hills, Dusk, 1991. Vintage chromogenic contact print, 19.4 x 24.4 cm. Gift of M. Robin Krasny, Class of 1973 (2012-116)

Joel Meyerowitz first started shooting color photographs in the late 1960s, both in New York City and on trips overseas, but it was his Cape Light series from a decade later that brought him national recognition. Thanks to a generous gift of nine Meyerowitz prints dating from 1977 to 1998 by M. Robin Krasny, Class of 1973, the Princeton University Art Museum is now able to share some of this historic work with students, scholars, and visitors.

In Depth: The Itinerant Languages of Photography

Marc Ferrez (Brazilian, 1843–1923), Araucárias, Paraná, ca. 1884 (printed later). Gelatin silver print, 29 x 39 cm. Gilberto Ferrez Collection, Instituto Moreira Salles Archive, Brazil

Through more than ninety works from public and private collections in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and the United States, The Itinerant Languages of Photography explores the movement of photographs across borders, offering a diverse and dynamic history of photography that draws new attention to the work of both well-known masters and emerging artists.

The Minor White Archive proof cards

Before my internship at the Princeton University Art Museum, I thought that accessing art images was as simple as searching titles in Google. 

Root & Branch

Rooted in photography but branching out into every department in the Museum, this exhibition looks at trees and branching structures in art, nature, and information design.

Katherine Bussard

Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography

Katherine Bussard was appointed Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography at the Princeton University Art Museum in 2013. Previously, she served as associate curator of photography at the Art Institute Chicago. Since 1999, she has organized a number of exhibitions, including: Film and Photo in New York (2012); Souvenirs of the Barbizon: Photographs, Paintings, and Works on Paper (2011); So the Story Goes: Photographs by Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, and Larry Sultan (2006); and a biennial series dedicated to emerging photographers (2005–2011). Bussard is co-author of Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (2013). She completed her doctoral dissertation on street photography at the City University of New York and contributed a related essay to Street Art, Street Life: From the 1950s to Now (2008). That scholarship is the subject of a forthcoming book from Yale University Press. Bussard is also currently co-authoring a publication exploring the intersection of photography, architecture, and urban studies in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles during the 1960s and 1970s, for which there will be an accompanying exhibition.