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Photography: researching its history, processes, and photographers: Reference Sources and Bibliography


Jan Saudek.  "Life," 1966.  (Olomouc Museum of Art, New York.)   In:  Czech Photography of the 20th Century by Vladimir Birgus and Jan Mlcoch, p. 193.  Prague: KANT, 2010.


Pavel Stecha. From the series "Retirement Home at St. Thomas' in the Lesser Town, Prague," 1972.  (Museum of the Decorative Arts in Prague) In: Czech Photography of the 20th Century,  by Vladimir Birgus and Jan Mlcoch, p. 221.  Prague: KANT, 2010.


Richard Avedon. "Nadja Auermann and A Person Unknown, dress by Geoffrey Beene, suit and sweater by Jean Paul Gaultier, Montauk, New York," 1995.  In: Avedon Fashion 1944-2000, by Carol Squiers and Vince Aletti, p. 398.  NY: Abrams, 2009.

The city

Berenice Abbott. "Wall Street, Showing East River, from Roof of Irving Trust Co. Building," May, 1938.  In: New York in theThirties, as Photographed by Berenice Abbott, text by Elizabeth McCausland, plate 8. NY:  Dover Publications, 1939.

The suburbs

Philip-Lorca diCorcia.  "Oklahoma City," 1999.  In: Philip-Lorca diCorcia, curated by Benett Simpson, p. 69.  Boston:  The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2007.


Irving Penn.  "Chimney sweep (A), London," 1950.  In: Irving Penn: Small Trades, by Virginia A. Heckert and Anne Lacoste, p. 47. Los Angeles:  The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009. 

Love and friendship

Grace Robertson. From "Mother's Day Off," 1954.  In: The Oxford Companion to the Photograph, edited by Robin Lenman, p. 540.  NY: Oxford University Press, 2005.


David Miller.  "Lightning from thunderhead at Hall's Creek, Australia," 1995.  In: The Oxford Companion to the Photograph, edited by Robin Lenman, p. 258. NY:  Oxford University Press, 2005.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias

Auer, Michèle, and Michel Auer.   Encyclopédie internationale des photographes de 1839 à nos jours = Photographers encyclopaedia international 1839 to the present.  Hermance, Switzerland : Editions Camera obscura, c1985.

Bibliographical and biographical information on photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries, an alphabetical listing of 1600+ artists from 44 countries.  Vol. II includes a list of photographers by country and a chronological summary of the important events in the history of photography.

Clark Reference NE2600 A1 A84 (Volumes 1-2)


Browne, Turner, and Elaine Partnow.  Macmillan Biographical Encyclopedia of Photographic Artists and Innovators.  New York:  Macmillan; London:  Collier Macmillan, 1983.

Provides basic biographical information on 2,000+ photographers and innovators in the field, including roughly 500 from the 19th and early 20th centuries; in addition, each entry lists publications, portfolios, collections, dealers/representatives, and address.  Photographers were chosen on the basis of “dedication” (photography had to be “a major passion”) and “visibility” (work had to be available in photographic books, journals, museum collections, or through grants and awards, though being well known was not a criterion).  Includes inventors, photographic curators, museum directors, gallery owners, photo-historians, and photography critics in addition to photographers.

Clark Reference  NE2600 A1 B76


Edwards, Gary. International Guide to Nineteenth-Century Photographers and Their Works: Based on Catalogues of Auction Houses and Dealers. Boston, Mass: G.K. Hall, 1988.

This unique work "constitutes a census of the [19th-century]  photographic material that has passed through the hands of booksellers, galleries, and auction houses out into the world" during the period of roughly 1970 - 2000, with a few auction catalogs from the 1950s and 1960s.   Organized by photographer, the Guide lists photographic auction catalogs from about 50 major auction houses of America and Britain and a few from Europe (Paris, Munich, Geneva).  An invaluable resource for tracing the sales of work by several hundred 19th-century photographers from around the world.

Clark Reference  NE2609 E38


Hannavy, John, editor.  Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography.  New York:  Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008.

Aims to be “an essential reference work for anyone interested in the medium of photography,” based on scholarly research that has “established the role of many hitherto unrecorded figures, measured the achievements of many of the leading practitioners against contemporary appraisal of their work, and placed the history of photography’s first century within a social and economic context.”  Includes articles on major inventors, manufacturers, organizations, and supporters of the medium as well as key photographers.  Access points are provided by an alphabetical list of entries, a thematic list of entries, and a thorough index.  Each article includes cross-references and bibliographies.

Clark Reference  NE2600 A1 E635  (Volumes 1–2)


*Lenman, Robyn.  The Oxford Companion to the Photograph.  Oxford; New York:  Oxford University Press, 2005.

Includes numerous technical entries (e.g. substantial articles on lens development and three-dimensional photography) as well as articles on photographic theory and techniques.  Contains many national and regional entries not available in other reference books (e.g. Africa and Scandinavia).  Strong in Japanese and Chinese photography.  Strong emphasis on photography as a social and political practice, with articles on tourism, advertising, propaganda, military photography, and photojournalism.  Art photography is also well represented.  Includes a limited number of biographical articles.  Most entries include bibliographies.

Clark Reference  NE2600 A1 O94


Stroebel, Leslie, and Richard Zakia.  The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 3rd Edition.  Boston:  Focal Press, 1993.

Especially useful for technical definitions; also includes biographical entries and entries on theory, history, and antiquated processes.  Technical details and definitions are well illustrated with black-and-white line drawings.  Each alphabetical section begins with a list of abbreviations that begin with that letter (e.g. LED: light-emitting diode).

Clark Reference  NE2600 A1 F6


Warren, Lynn, editor.  Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography.  New York:  Routledge, 2006.

Scholarly discussion of 20th-century photography history introduces the reader to a history of the technical issues that have changed over the century, defines the concepts, terms, and themes that evolved over 100 years, describes the role of institutions and publications in the shaping of that history, and explains the development of photography in specific countries and regions around the world.  Gathers information on “the most often cited names, terms, concepts, processes, and countries,” and provides the historical and theoretical contexts for understanding each entry.  Includes extensive cross-referencing, substantive bibliographies, analytical index, and 600+ illustrations.

Clark Reference  NE2610 A1 W37 (Volumes 1–3)



NOTE: check the "Periodical literature" tab, above, for more bibliographies covering periodical literature on photography and photographers.


Boni, Albert, editor. Photographic Literature, 1960–1970: An International Bibliographic Guide to General & Specialized Literature on Photographic Processes, Techniques, Theory, Chemistry, Physics, Apparatus, Materials & Applications, Industry, History, Biography, Aesthetics, etc.  Hastings-on-Hudson, NY:  Morgan & Morgan, 1972.

Essential reference work that includes publications of all types, dating from 1727; many entries are annotated.  Primarily technical, but includes useful sections on individual photographers, bibliography, history, aesthetics, and illustrated books as well as photographic processes.  Author indexes.

Clark Reference  ZNE2606 B6


Burns, Stanley B.  Early Medical Photography in America (1839–1883).  NY:  Burns Archive, 1983.

Reprinted from: New York State Journal of Medicine, selected volumes from v. 79, no. 5-v. 81, no. 8.  Burns' monograph, written and published as a seven-part series for the NYSJM, describes 70+ American medical texts.  Texts are categorized into seven levels of illustration, ranging from books with original photographs (e.g. albumens and salt prints) to books with less notable illustrations (e.g. woodcuts copied from photographs); also included are books written by physicians but outside the medical canon.

Clark Stacks  NE2612 B87e


Heidtmann, Frank.  Bibliographie der Photographie Deutschsprachige Publikationen der Jahre 1839-1984 = Bibliography of German-Language Photographic Publications 1839-1984.  Second revised and enlarged ed.  K.G. Saur:  Munchen, London, NY, Paris, 1989.

"A more or less complete national bibliography of photographic literature," intended as an aid for researchers, journalists, photo historians, collectors of photographs, professional and amateur photographers, and all others interested in photography and its literature.  Organization is a hierarchical classification scheme of five major sections - General, Technology, On Photography (theory and composition), Visual, and Company Publications (e.g. Busch, Canon, Zeiss) - with sub-classifications within these divisions.  Does not list individual periodical articles.  Indexes by personal names, classification terms, and title key words.

Clark Reference  Z NE2606 H45 (Volumes 1-2)


Johnson, William S.  Nineteenth-Century Photography:  An Annotated Bibliography, 1839–1879.  Boston:  G.K. Hall, 1990.

Selected bibliography of literature in English.  Includes references to books and periodical articles about photography from 1839 to 1879, published between 1839 and 1990 in a broad range of general-interest and specialist photographic journals, books, manuals, and pamphlets.  In addition to articles about photography, there are citations to materials that illustrate photographic practice and that are examples of the varied uses of photography in book publishing at that time.  Organization is by broad topic, with an author index.

Clark Reference  Z NE2609 J64


Koelzer, Walter, Editor.  Bibliographie der Photo-und-Film-Zeitschriften, 1840-1940 = Bibliography of photographic and cinematic journals, 1840-1940 = Bibliographie des periodiques photo-cinema, 1840-1940.  Dusseldorf, Foto Brell, 1992.

Alphabetical listing of 2,000+ international periodicals with information on language, country of origin, publication dates, frequency, holding libraries, and sources consulted.  Publications in the UK, US, Belgium, Germany, France, and Russia are well represented; publications of Southeastern Europe, Spain, Portugal, and Latin America less so due to lack of available information.  Annotations when included are trilingual.  Indexes include periodical country of origin, personal and corporate name, sources consulted, and holding library symbols.

Clark Reference  Z NE2606 K64


Newhall, Beaumont.  A Catalogue of the Epstean Collection on the History and Science of Photography: And its Applications Especially to the Graphic Arts: With an Appreciation and Bibliography of Edward Epstean.  Pawlet, VT:  Helios, 1972, c1937.

Catalog of an extraordinary collection, assembled by a leading expert in photomechanical printing.  Classified list of books emphasizes the technical history and practice of photography; also includes sections on bibliography, aesthetics, and periodical literature.  Author and title indexes.   The Clark library copy is part of the David A. Hanson Collection of the History of Photomechanical Reproduction.

Clark Rare Book Room  NE2606 E778c


Palmquist, Peter E.  A Bibliography of Writings By and About Women in Photography 1850–1990, 2nd Edition.  Arcata, CA:  Published by Peter E. Palmquist, 1994.

Bibliography of articles from periodical sources and books “with at least some relevance to women photographers,” ranging from autobiography to technical treatises and including critical writings.  “At least ninety percent of the entries cannot be found in Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature or any other traditional indices.”  Entries are arranged chronologically by year and then alphabetically by author.  Name index provides access to 3,000 women photographers and writers.  A selected bibliography serves as a basic starting point to aid researchers in studying “the entire field of women photographers on a global scale.”

Clark Reference  Z NE2606 P345


Photography.  Modern Art Bibliographical Series, volume 2.  Oxford; Santa Barbara, CA:  Clio Press, 1982.

Contains annotated entries from ArtBibliographies Modern for articles on photography published between 1972 and 1979.  Emphasis is on the artistic rather than the scientific side of photography, but much information can be found on cameras, equipment, and the technical development of photography, particularly during the 19th century.  No distinction is made between art photography and industrial, documentary, or applied photography.  A general section conains material on general or worldwide photography, followed by a section arranged alphabetically by country.

Clark Reference  Z NE2610 P36


Roosens, Laurent, and Luc Salu.  History of Photography:  A Bibliography of Books.  London; New York:  Mansell, 1989– .

Critically selective yet broadly conceived compilation of 25,000+ entries drawn from books, exhibition catalogs, dissertations, essays, brochures, offprints, and trade literature on photography and related areas (silhouettes, optics, holography, etc.)  Four volumes cover photographers born before 1914, 1936, 1950, and 1962, respectively.  Each volume updates but does not supercede the coverage of the preceding ones. 

Clark Reference  Z NE2606 R66 (Volumes 1–4)


Rowley, Mark.  Photo Illustrated Medical Literature: A Bibliography.  [S.l.]:  Cabinet of Art and Medicine, 2004.

Annotated list, arranged chronologically, of photographically illustrated medical texts.  Excluded are books illustrated by lithographs or woodcuts copied from photographs and photographically illustrated books written by doctors on non-medical subject matter (except for works on photomicrography).  Includes many fascinating illustrations.  See also Burns, above.

Clark Reference  Z NE2606 R684


Rudisill, Richard, et al.  Edited by Peter E. Palmquist.  Photographers:  A Sourcebook for Historical Research, revised 2nd edition.  Nevada City, CA:  Carl Mautz, 2000.

Combines a selection of six essays on the experience of regional directory research with Richard Rudisill’s “Directories of Photographers: An Annotated World Bibliography.  Rudisill’s annotated bibliography is truly international, providing access to a wide range of general, national, regional, and area-specific histories, directories, and bibliographies; also contains a “works in progress” section that includes the compiler’s address.

Clark Stacks  Z NE2606 P56


Sennett, Robert S.  The Nineteenth-Century Photographic Press: A Study Guide.  NY; London:  Garland Publishing, 1987.

Provides historians and scholars of photography "some access to the wealth of material published in journals between 1840 and the end of the century."  Begins with a brief but useful essay on the birth of and the nature of the photographic press.  Lists in alphabetical order "every European and American journal which could be construed as being relevant to photography;" several have been studied issue by issue for several years and citations made to important contributions.

Clark Reference  Z NE2609 S45n


—.  Photography and Photographers to 1900:  An Annotated Bibliography.  NY; London:  Garland Publishing, 1985.

A select bibliography of "those titles which deserve recollection because they are groundbreaking, or particularly influential, or of literary merit."  Does not include periodical literature; focuses on books.  Includes sections on general works on photography, early technical treatises, early theoretical treatises, monographs on photographers, and early books of views and topographical surveys.  Index by subject and author.

Clark Reference  Z NE2609 S46p

Indexes and websites for photographs, photographic collections, and photograph exhibitions

Exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society 1870-1915

Annual exhibition catalogues of the Photographic Society, London, dating from 1870 to 1915 have been scanned and digitized. Database contains detailed records of all the exhibitions, reproductions of all the catalogue pages, all of the pictures of the photographs that were printed in the catalogues, and reviews of the exhibitions. Visitors can perform a detailed search across all of the catalogues or browse them by date.

Online resource


*International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House. International Photography: George Eastman House Index to Photographers, Collections, and Exhibitions. Edited by Andrew H. Eskind, Greg Drake, Kirsti Ringger, and Lynne Rumney. Enlarged and expanded version of the Index to American photographic collections, 3rd enl. ed. New York: London: G.K. Hall, Prentice Hall International, 1998.

Essential reference work that gives collection and exhibition data on 78,000+  photographers from 615 U.S. and foreign collections. Photographers volume features an alphabetical listing and indicates for each photographer collections that hold work and major exhibitions that included work.  Collections volume gives the address and listing of photographers for each collection.  Exhibitions volume is arranged chronologically with location, dates, and list of photographers exhibited.

Clark Reference  N510 A1 1998


Kreisel, Martha. Photography Books Index: A Subject Guide to Photo Anthologies. Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1980.

Intended to provide librarians, artists, students and the general public with access by subject and by photographer to photographs in published sources; the books indexed are histories and anthologies of photography published between 1946 and 1977.

Clark Stacks  ZNE2606 M6


Parry, Pamela Jeffcott. Photography Index: A Guide to Reproductions. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1979.

Reference work used to locate reproductions of photographs, including those of documentary journalistic and artistic intent, by both known and anonymous photographers.  Entries are based on illustrations in 80 major books, photo anthologies, surveys, and exhibition catalogs.  Part I is a chronological index to anonymous photographs and Part II is an alphabetical index by photographer. Part III is a subject and title index.

Clark Reference   NE2600 A1 P37


Wall, John.  Directory of British photographic collections.  London: Heinemann, 1977.

A comprehensive directory of "all the photographic collections of note in the British Isles," including collections private and commercial, personal or open to public view, published and unpublished, historic and contemporary; in short, "every kind" of photographic collection of note has been included, and every kind of photography "from the discovery of photography to the present day."   Organized by subject, there are photographer, title, subject, location, and owner indexes.

Clark Reference  N1020 A1 W34