Special Collections' exceptionally strong photographic collections began with a gift in the late 1960s of Edward Weston's project prints. The photographic collections, now numbering close to half a million items, have continued to grow through the acquisition and archival gifts of works by important contemporary photographers working in both the documentary and fine art tradition.
Additionally, Special Collections has approximately 50,000 local historic photographs—from aerial views of the Northern California Coastline to depictions of the city of Santa Cruz at the turn of the century. See our list of aerial photographs, including digitized photographs. Also, see our Santa Cruz County History Digital Collection.
A small number of works demonstrating the evolution of photographic formats from daguerreotypes to digital prints are also collected.
Image: Yosemite National Park: bear (Ursus americanus) on the hood of a 1936 Buick, with Branson DeCou inside the car. Branson DeCou archive. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.
(* signifies substantial holdings)
Ruth-Marion Baruch (June 15, 1922-October 11, 1997) and Pirkle Jones (January 2, 1914-March 15, 2009) were documentary photographers and educators who captured California's people and communities throughout much of the twentieth century. Together they created the now-iconic 1968 photographic series The Black Panthers, a project that would prove as controversial as it was popular for its sympathetic portrayal of a maligned community. Baruch is also well known for her Haight-Ashbury photography series. Jones is most known for his photography series Death of a Valley, which he collaborated on with Dorothea Lange. The collections of Baruch's and Jones's photographs and papers primarily consist of photographic prints and contact sheets, in addition to correspondence and papers related to projects and exhibitions.