Digitizing 70 Years of Photography Education, 1930-2000

Material Description

ArtCenter’s Photography Department materials consist of the main institutional collection and sixteen donated collections. Collectively, they document the history of photography education at ArtCenter beginning in the 1930s. The institutional collection includes catalogs and brochures published between the 1930s -1990s. The collections tell the story of American photography education and outline the curriculum, including beginning and advanced techniques, composition and lighting, layout, landscape photography, portraiture, advertising photography, and color photography, to name a few. The bulk of the institutional collection consists of prints, negatives, and slides documenting the curriculum. The images show: location shoots at different spots in Southern California, studio shoots at ArtCenter’s campuses, advertising layout shoots, fashion shoots, students working in the darkroom, and faculty critiques of student work. In addition, there are several special projects documented, including elaborate stage shoots of “Carmen” and “Salome,” circa 1949. These stage projects were taught by George Hoyningen-Huene, a prominent fashion photographer in the 1920s and 30s. Most of the sixteen external collections were donated by alumni and show the photography department from the 1930s-1960s, with the bulk being from the 1940s. Among the significant materials are images of field trips with Ansel Adams to places like Yosemite and various Southern California beaches. The donated collections offer a more personal and less staged view of the life of a photography student. The Franklin Judson collection contains a number of 16mm films from the late 1930s and early 1940s showing the moving image footage of the film and photography shoots.


The Archives, part of the ArtCenter Library, is seeking grant funds for an 18 month project to digitize and make available materials documenting professional photography education from 1930-2000. This period shows the trajectory of analog photography training and ends when digital photography largely replaced it. ArtCenter was one of the first schools in the United States to offer professional photography as a major. It had notable instructors, such as Ansel Adams, Fred Archer, Will Connell, and George Hoyningen-Huene. The materials in our collection consist of photographs and films documenting photo shoots in the studio and on field trips, students and faculty working in the darkroom, and catalogs outlining the photography curriculum. The collection is hidden in that finding aids and item-level records are unavailable online. In addition, most of the collection has not been digitized. Making this collection available online will help scholars of the subject, practitioners and educators.


Digitizing Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded


Year Added



ArtCenter College of Design


  • Mr. Robert Dirig (Art Center College of Design)

Date Range

1931 - 1931

Geographic Scope

The images in the collections show California, including the two former ArtCenter campuses in Los Angeles, the current campus in Pasadena, Southern California locations for photo shoots, and Yosemite.


  • 20 Catalogs and brochures