Department Overview


Edward Weston, Pipes and Stacks, Armco, Middletown, Ohio, 1922; gelatin silver print; Collection SFMOMA, Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund Purchase; © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents

Department of Photography

SFMOMA was one of the first museums to recognize photography as an art form. This early focus was initiated by curator John Humphrey (1935-78). Under the direction of Van Deren Coke (1979-87), the Department of Photography gained international stature. Today its exceptional collection of 20th-century photography boasts especially strong holdings of works by Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, the German avant-garde artists of the 1920s, and the European Surrealists of the 1930s. Sandra S. Phillips has served as curator of photography since 1987 and as senior curator since 1999.