|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|
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.