Photography in Boston

Photography in Boston


Edited by Rachel Rosenfield Lafo and Gillian Nagler

Examines the crucial role that Boston played in the development of American photography in the second half of the twentieth century.





Examines the crucial role that Boston played in the development of American photography in the second half of the twentieth century.

Boston played a crucial role in the development of American photography, including criticism, collecting, and curating, in the second half of the twentieth century. This book accompanies a landmark exhibition at the DeCordova Museum that includes such important American artists as Berenice Abbott, Harry Callahan, Paul Caponigro, Marie Cosindas, Harold Edgerton, Nan Goldin, Jerome Liebling, Nicholas Nixon, Barbara Norfleet, Olivia Parker, Rosamond Purcell, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White. The period from 1955 to 1985 reflects photography's acceptance as an art form, the influence of modernism, and the coalescence of a unique constellation of educational institutions, museums, and technological development in the Boston area that directly influenced artistic options for photography. Minor White's arrival at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965 to run the Center for Creative Photography and the Polaroid Corporation's innovative support of photographic art suggest how developments built upon one another to create a regional critical mass in photography.

The book contains twenty-five color plates, sixty duotones, and essays by A. D. Coleman, Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, and Kim Sichel. Copublished with the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. Published in conjunction with the exhibition Photography in Boston: 1955-1985, September 16, 2000 - January 21, 2001. For more information please call 781-259-8355.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262122290 206 pp. | 9.8 in x 10.3 in


Rachel Rosenfield Lafo

Gillian Nagler


  • Boston, with its plethora of fine cultural, scientific, and educational institutions, has played an important role in the development of photography—both as a scientific tool and as a medium of artistic expression—since photography's invention in 1839. Photography in Boston: 1955-1985 successfully identifies the city's unique contributions during the mid-twentieth century and positions them solidly within the context of American photographic history for the first time. Can't wait for the pre-quel.

    Beth Gates Warren

    freelance curator, collections consultant, and Director, Sotheby's New York Photographs Department, 1985-1995

  • This collection of essays and photographs recounts who did what, in the very imporant where of Boston, during three decades of intense activity. Telling the story of a special media-based regionalism, these lucid and informative essays also trace the growing significane during this period of American photography overall. Photography in Boston allows us to relive and reconsider an impressive roster of individuals.

    Merry Foresta

    Senior Currator, Smithsonian American Art Museum

  • This book surveys the broad spectrum of photo achievements in the Boston area in the post-war era. It is to be commended for both its ground-breaking research and its choice selection of images. While regional in its focus, Lafo and Nagler's book has wider implications for understanding the limits and possibilities of photgraphic modernism in general.

    Louis Kaplan

    Department of Cinema and Photography, Southern Illinois University

  • This study makes an important contribution to our understanding of how Boston served as a nexus for many of the artists critics and historians who have shaped the recent history of photography in the academy and beyond.

    Deborah Martin Kao

    Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University