Photography is the primary visual language of our time. Not only is it a means of recording personal and collective histories, it is also a rich form of creative expression. The High Museum of Art began collecting photographs in the early 1970s, making it among the earliest museums to commit to the medium. Today, the High’s photography department is one of the nation’s leading programs and, with some 6,500 prints, comprises the Museum’s largest collection.
These holdings encompass work from around the world made by diverse practitioners, from artists, to entrepreneurs, to journalists, to scientists. Spanning the very beginnings of the medium in the 1840s to the present, the High’s collection has particular strengths in American modernist and documentary traditions from the mid-twentieth century as well as current contemporary trends.
The photography collection maintains a strong base of pictures related to the American South and situates this work within a global context that is both regionally relevant and internationally significant. The High owns one of the largest collections of photographs of the civil rights movement and some of the country’s strongest monographic collections of photographs by Eugene Atget, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan, William Christenberry, Walker Evans, Leonard Freed, Evelyn Hofer, Clarence John Laughlin, Abelardo Morell, and Peter Sekaer.
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