The Nelson-Atkins
Highlights from the Photography Collection
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The Photography Collection at The Nelson-Atkins encompasses the full history of the medium, from 1839 to the present. A diverse selection of works celebrating our rich holdings, from daguerreotypes to digitally composed photographs, will be on view in our photography galleries.

Since photography’s invention around 1839, photographers have used the camera for artistic expression, documentation, and scientific study. Though its technology and techniques have changed throughout history, photography has remained our most prolific means for engaging with the world. As an art form, photographs express personal ideas and emotions, and explore new ways of seeing. Photographs have shaped our cultures and our collective memories, at times calling attention to social injustices and history’s omissions. Foremost, photography has allowed us to better understand our complex histories and our place in time.

The photographs on display engage with these ideas in a variety of ways, reflecting the depth and breadth of our collection. Artists include: Jeremiah Gurney, William Henry Fox Talbot, Carleton Watkins, Alfred Stieglitz, Margaret Bourke-White, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Helen Levitt, Irving Penn, Roy DeCarava, Diane Arbus, Joel Meyerowitz, Peter Hujar, Graciela Iturbide, Tseng Kwong Chi, Carrie Mae Weems, Sally Mann, Julie Blackmon, LaToya Rudy Frazier, Marcus Brunetti, and Deana Lawson.



Pledge of allegiance at Raphael Weill Elementary School

Birds at Home
Paris, Fallen Man, 1967
Ring Bearer, 2016

Cathedral Church of St. Andrews, 2015–2016
Susan Sontag, 1975
Portrait of a family, ca. 1852–1858
Basie and Lena, New York, 1957

200 Tons, Ladle, Otis Steel Mill, 1928
Healing, Juchitán, Oaxaca, 1988

View on the Merced, Yosemite, ca. 1872

This installation is supported by the Hall Family Foundation.