Doug Nickel – Profile

Since our interview was conducted, Douglas Nickel has received an endowed chair as Professor in the History of Photography at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. For more information, follow this link.

To learn about Dr. Britt Salvesen, named Director and Chief Curator for the Center for Creative Photography, click here.

One of the most respected curators and photo historians of his generation, Doug Nickel likely surprised no one when he landed his position as director of the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) at the University of Arizona in Tucson in 2003. CCP is one of the preeminent photography institutions, comprising a museum, research center, and teaching institution in one.

Nickel studied art history at Cornell and received his doctorate at Princeton, where he studied with the legendary Peter Bunnell, focusing on American art and the history of photography. A photographer himself, Nickel has documented archaeology and has taught studio photography.

Nickel was the photography curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art alongside Sandra Phillips before moving to CCP, where he has spearheaded an effort to return the Center to its original purpose - becoming a leading research center for photographic history. In addition to curating numerous shows, Nickel has taught at Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the San Francisco Art Institute, and has written numerous books, reviews, and articles on photography.

More about the Center for Creative Photography:

For years,  Ansel Adams felt photography needed its own advocacy organization, and he dreamed of opening a photographic archive and research center. In 1975, that dream took shape when he founded the Center for Creative Photography on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson. The Center, under the direction of Doug Nickel, is committed to Adams' original vision: celebrating the art of photography, offering top-notch educational programs, and carefully preserving important works.

This world-renowned photography gallery, research center, and teaching institution - the only one of its kind - now holds the archives of more than 60 major 20th-century photographers, including  Richard Avedon Harry Callahan Aaron Siskind Edward Weston Garry Winogrand, and (of course) Ansel Adams. In all, the Center houses approximately 80,000 exhibition prints by 2,000 photographers and 3.8 million negatives, contacts, work prints, paper documents, and archive objects, such as one of Ansel Adams' hats and  W. Eugene Smith's chair.