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Photography

This Research guide will help you with your studies in Photography. You will find resources from the library and approved Web sites. Some of the resources included in this guide are databases, books, and Web links.

Researching Photographers

When researching a photographer for biographical information, you will need to consult many different resources.  These resources will include primary, secondary and tertiary (reference) resources.  


Online Resources:

Archives of American Art - ‚ÄčThe Archives of American Art is the world’s preeminent and most widely used research center dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary sources that document the history of the visual arts in America. Our vast holdings are a vital resource to anyone interested in American culture over the past 200 years and consist of more than 20 million letters, diaries, scrapbooks, manuscripts, financial records, photographs, films, and audiovisual recordings of artists, dealers, collectors, critics, scholars, museums, galleries, associations, and other art world figures.  The Archives also houses the largest collection of oral histories anywhere on the subject of art.

Center for Creative Photography (CCP) - Hosted by the University of Arizona the CCP is recognized as one of the world's finest art museum and study center for the history of photography.  Altogether there are over eight million archival objects in the Center's collection including negatives, work prints, contact sheets, albums, scrapbooks, correspondence, writings, audiovisual materials and memorabilia.  

The International Foundation for Art Research provides two databases ( published catalogues raisonnés and catalogues in preparation).  Catalogues raisonnés are catalogs of artists known works.  They will help you with the provenance and attribution of artworks. You will want to search for artists by searching 'last name, first name.'

Photographers' Identities Catalog (PIC) - Photographers’ Identities Catalog (PIC) is an experimental interface to a collection of biographical data describing photographers, studios, manufacturers, and others involved in the production of photographic images. Consisting of names, nationalities, dates, locations and more, PIC is a vast and growing resource for the historian, student, genealogist, or any lover of photography's history. The information has been culled from trusted biographical dictionaries, catalogs and databases, and from extensive original research by NYPL Photography Collection staff.

Royal Photographic Society (RPS) - One of the oldest photographic societies, offers resources to use in researching historical photographers.  In addition, the RPS Journal is digitized in its entirety from 1853-2018.  The journal is fully searchable and will help in photographic history research.


Genealogical Resources:

Genealogical resources may seem like a strange place to look, but can offer some insight to the photographer.  Directories and telephone books are a good place find advertisements for businesses or individuals.  Other useful resources are local and regional almanacs and 'mug' books (biographical sketches).  Census documents will help give information about each person, including name, age, race, sex, birthplace, residential address, education, and immigration status for the foreign born. You can search for County histories are a good place to look for information if you know where the photographer is from.  If you need help with any of these resources you can contact Special Collections or Dee Dee Baldwin, the History Librarian.  When you contact Special Collections or Ms. Baldwin, be sure to include the name of the photographer and what you have found already.


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