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Donald Woodman Collection

Identifier: PAC 053

Scope and Content

This collection will encompass Woodman's entire photographic career in all formats.


  • 1972 - present

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to researchers on an appointment basis only, pending approval of application to view original material

Copy Restrictions

Any requests for reproductions or permissions must be directed to:

Biography / History

For more than four decades, Donald Woodman has pursued a very active career as a photographer. His work has been included in exhibitions both nationally and internationally, and he has worked with a variety of subject matter, using all camera formats, but specializes in large format photography. As an accomplished commercial photographer his work has been published in magazines including Time Magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Art in America, Preservation Magazine and New York Newsday. Also serving as staff photographer for American Builder Magazine – New Mexico Edition. As a teacher he has brought this unique understanding of photography to the students he has taught at several universities around the United States. His work shows his ability to meld his broad knowledge of traditional photographic techniques with the changing advances in digital photography.

Donald Woodman was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts September 26, 1945. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1969 with a BS degree in architecture along with an extensive background in photography. During his last year in architectural school and immediately after graduation, he worked as an architectural photographer and assistant to the renowned architectural photographer, Ezra Stoller, who was based outside of New York City. Woodman photographed the architectural works of such luminaries as Phillip Johnson, Paul Rudolph, I. M. Pei and buildings designed by Skidmore, Owens & Merrill, while also completing photographic assignments for many of the major home journals and architectural magazines.

From 1970 to 1972 Woodman developed his creative photography abilities working with the internationally recognized photographer, Minor White at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. He assisted White in teaching workshops and was director of the Creative Photography Lab’s Gallery. During this period, he became knowledgeable about the history of photography while also developing hands-on knowledge of a wide range of historical and non-silver photo techniques, including photogravure.

In 1972, Woodman settled in New Mexico, working for five years at the Sacramento Peak Solar Observatory, doing sophisticated scientific photography and solar observations, including land-based and Sky-Lab photographic research. His responsibilities included managing the Observatory’s film processing laboratory and establishing and operating a facility to create solar observation films.

In 1981, Woodman received an MFA in photography from the University of Houston, Houston, TX, where he studied with George Krause. At the University of Houston, he taught photography and also helped to establish the University of Houston’s Lawndale Annex, an alternative exhibition space for artists. He continued his interest in film and video, working on several documentary film projects and doing live video with various performance artists at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, TX. Additionally, from 1977 to 1983 he worked as painter Agnes Martin’s personal assistant while continuing his own studio work.

From 1980 to 1985, Woodman created several major series of black and white photographs using 4×5 Polaroid positive/negative film. His work is also included in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; the Museum of Art and History, Fribourg, Switzerland; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM; the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Butler Art Institute, Youngstown, OH, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; as well as various private collections.

From 1985 to 1993, Woodman worked on the Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light, a collaboration with his wife, artist Judy Chicago. Together, they created a 3,000 square foot traveling exhibition which premiered at the Spertus Museum in Chicago, IL in October 1993, subsequently traveling to seven other museums. The exhibition is accompanied by a book written by Ms. Chicago with the photographs of Woodman, published by Viking/Penguin. In conjunction with the Holocaust Project he was also involved in the filming and production of the video From Darkness Into Light: The Making of the Holocaust Project

Woodman has taught photography at Vanderbilt University,the University of New Mexico, Valencia Campus; and with his wife, artist Judy Chicago at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, and Cal Poly Pomona and Claremont, CA.


4 cu. ft. (Entire archive of working career of photographer Donald Woodman)

Language of Materials


Donald Woodman Collection 1972 - present
Edited Full Draft
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Repository Details

Part of the NMHM Palace of the Governors Photo Archives Repository

113 Lincoln Ave.
Santa Fe NM 87501 USA