Center for Creative Photography Acquires the Rosalind Solomon Archive

The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona announced today that it has acquired the photographic archive of the internationally renowned artist Rosalind Solomon. Her archive joins the Center’s holdings of the life’s work of over 40 major twentieth century photographers, including those of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, W. Eugene Smith, and Garry Winogrand.

“We are delighted that Rosalind Solomon has chosen the Center for Creative Photography as the permanent home for her photographic archive,” comments Douglas R. Nickel, the Center’s director. “Solomon is one of the outstanding camera artists of her generation. Her documentation of the social landscape -- in the 1970s, in particular -- is best seen in relation to contemporaries such as Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. With this acquisition, students, scholars, curators, and other researchers will benefit from the preservation of this archive for decades to come.”

Solomon was born April 2, 1930 in Highland Park, Illinois. She decided to become a photographer in 1968, at age 38, after traveling in Japan, Thailand and Cambodia, and went on to study with celebrated photography teacher Lisette Model in the early 1970s. In 1986, Solomon was given a one-person exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, titled “Ritual.” Organized by Peter Galassi, the show featured photographs of female goddess sculptures and shamans, images that found metaphoric meanings in concrete reality. At the time, Galassi wrote, “For Solomon, the extravagant public theatre of ritual is an expression of private feelings and struggles, which she invites—or compels—the viewer to share. Her ability to do so depends on the keenness of her perceptions and the relentless clarity and detail with which she records them.”

Other important monographic exhibitions of her work include “Chapalingas,” a retrospective covering the years 1975-2001 that was organized by the Photographische Sammlung in Cologne, Germany. It was accompanied by a book of the same title published by Steidl. Solomon has also had solo exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Instituto de Estudios Norteamericanos, Barcelona, Spain; the Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, France; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; the Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru; and the Willy-Brandt-Haus, Berlin, Germany.

Solomon was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation award in 1979 for her work in Brazil and Peru, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for 1989, and grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies from 1981 to 1984, which supported a project to photograph in India. She has had residencies at Blue Mountain Center, the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo.

The Rosalind Solomon Archive is comprised of a key set of over 800 exhibition photographs and other artworks, which, together with the photographer’s original negatives, transparencies, personal papers, letters, business files, scrapbooks, and other documentation, chronicle Solomon’s nearly forty year career in photography. The archive was selected to contain works from every major project, including the complete Chapalingas retrospective. “My archive includes the work I have done with documentary photography, beginning with dolls and people in Alabama in the 1970s and continuing in the sculptors’ communities of Calcutta in the 1980s and New Orleans Mardi Gras in the 1990s. I am fascinated by the aesthetics of black and white photography, which enable tonality and form to create tension within a print.”

About her decision to place her archive at the Center, Solomon observes: “The Center for Creative Photography has long been noted among curators and artists alike as the preeminent location for housing photographic archives. It was not until the 1980s, when I first saw the beautiful facilities and met some of the professional staff, that I knew for certain I wanted my life’s work at the CCP. It is gratifying to know that a broad and representative selection of my past images now reside at the Center, to be preserved, researched, circulated, and appreciated by all lovers of the medium.”

Selected publications:

Rosalind Solomon. Polish Shadow. Göttingen: Steidl, 2006.
Americans: The Social Landscape from 1940 until 2006. Masterpieces of American Photography. Damiani/Kunsthalle
Wien, 2006.
Rosalind Solomon. Chapalingas. Göttingen: Steidl, 2003.
Rosalind Solomon. El Peru y Otros Lugares – Peru and Other Places. Lima: Museo de Arte de Lima, 1996.
Rosalind Solomon. Rosalind Solomon: Photographs, 1976-1987. Tucson, Arizona: Etherton Gallery, 1988.
Rosalind Solomon. Rosalind Solomon: Portraits in the Time of AIDS. New York: Grey Art Gallery & Studio
Center, New York University, 1988.
Wanderlust. Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1987.
Rosalind Solomon: Earthrites. Museum of Photographic Arts, 1986.

Release date: 
Tuesday, April 10, 2007