Photographs

The Gallery’s collection of photographs spans the medium’s history, with exceptional holdings of work made in America during the 20th century. Of particular distinction in the collection are complete sets of master prints by Robert Adams and Lee Friedlander.
U.S. 285, New Mexico
London
Longmont, Colorado, 1973-1974, from the series What We Bought
Colorado
Park City, Interior, 34, from the series Park City
Candelabre sur grille de la Place de l'Étoile (Lamppost on a Fence in the Place de l'Étoile)

About Photographs

Although the Yale University Art Gallery was founded before photography’s invention in 1839, the museum did not begin to actively collect photographs until 1971, when it acquired 25 prints by Walker Evans. Today the Gallery’s collection of over 12,000 photographs spans the medium’s history, with particular emphasis on work made in America during the 20th century.

Anchoring the collection are master prints by Robert Adams and Lee Friedlander, as well as significant concentrations of works by Man Ray and Walker Evans. The collection has strong examples from the tradition of street photography, including works by Lewis Hine, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, and Garry Winogrand. Also notable are pictures addressing the subjects of war and social upheaval by photographers such as Larry Burrows, Dorothea Lange, W. Eugene Smith, and Charles Moore.

Committed to collecting the work of significant figures working today, the Gallery has acquired key works by Judith Joy Ross, Mark Ruwedel, James Welling, Christian Marclay, Zhang Huan, and others. The Gallery proudly features photographs by some of the medium’s most influential educators—including Tod Papageorge, Richard Benson, Emmet Gowin, and Nathan Lyons—as well as examples by prominent graduates from the Yale University School of Art.

Note from the Curator

After stops in Vancouver, Denver, Los Angeles, New Haven, Madrid, and Bottrop, Germany, the Gallery’s touring retrospective of work by the influential American photographer Robert Adams is now on view at the Jeu de Paume, in Paris. Featuring nearly 300 prints spanning Adams’s 45-year career, Robert Adams: The Place We Live is accompanied by a monograph, What Can We Believe Where?, and a major three-volume retrospective publication, The Place We Live—a second edition of which was released in fall 2013 by the German publishing house Steidl. After Paris, the exhibition will travel to the Fotomuseum Winterthur, in Switzerland, its final stop.

Joshua Chuang

The Richard Benson Associate Curator of Photography and Digital Media

Robert Adams, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1968. Oil on canvas. Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund. © Robert Adams

Meet the Curator

Joshua Chuang

Joshua Chuang, the Richard Benson Associate Curator of Photography and Digital Media at the Gallery, most recently cocurated Robert Adams: The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs. He has also organized the exhibitions Remembering 9/11 and First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography, and co-organized Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century. He has written and lectured widely on modern and contemporary photography and contributed to monographs on the work of Robert Adams, Lee Friedlander, Judith Joy Ross, and Mark Ruwedel.

joshua.chuang@yale.edu

Further Reading

Adams, Robert. The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs, 1964–2009. 3 vols. With essays by Joshua Chuang, Tod Papageorge, Jock Reynolds, and John Szarkowski. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011.
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Adams, Robert. Denver: A Photographic Survey of the Metropolitan Area, 1970–1974, rev. ed. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009.
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Adams, Robert. Sea Stories. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011.
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Adams, Robert. This Day: Photographs from Twenty-Five Years, The Northwest Coast. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011.
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Adams, Robert. Summer Nights, Walking. New Haven and New York: Yale University Art Gallery and Apreture, 2009.
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Adams, Robert. What Can We Believe Where?: Photographs of the American West. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2010.

Adams, Robert. What We Bought: The New World—Scenes from the Denver Metropolitan Area, 1970–1974. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009.
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Anderson, Ash, Paul Katz, and Richard Benson. From Any Angle: Photographs from the Collection of Doris Bry, exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008.
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Chuang, Joshua. First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography, exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008.
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Chuang, Joshua, ed. Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin: Photography at Yale (2006).
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Cornell, Daniell. Alfred Stieglitz and the Equivalent: Reinventing the Nature of Photography, exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1999.

Friedlander, Lee. In the Picture: Self Portraits, 1958–2011. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011.
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Reynolds, Jock. Emmet Gowin: Changing the Earth, exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2002.
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Ross, Judith Joy. Judith Joy Ross: Portraits of the Hazleton Public Schools, Hazleton, Pennsylvania: 1992–1994. With an essay by Jock Reynolds. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006.
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Ruwedel, Mark. Westward the Course of Empire. With an essay by Jock Reynolds. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008.
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Lyons, Nathan. After 9/11: Photographs, exh. cat. With a poem by Marvin Bell. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2003.

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