Editor's note: The Center for Creative Photography in July 2002 provided source material to Resource Library Magazine for the following article. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, or if you wish to purchase the illustrated exhibition catalogue, please contact the Center for Creative Photography directly through either this phone number or web address:


Dr. Douglas R. Nickel Appointed Director of the Center for Creative Photography


Dr. Douglas R. Nickel has been selected as the fourth director of the Center for Creative Photography, Carla J. Stoffle, Dean of Libraries and the Center for Creative Photography, announced today. Nickel leaves an impressive tenure as photography curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to assume his new post in August 2003.

Nickel's background as a curator, scholar, and professor is well suited to leading the multi-faceted CCP, an archive, museum, and research center within a university environment. He will report to Dean of Libraries and CCP Carla J. Stoffle who is delighted with his appointment. Stoffle observes that, "Doug represents the best of the new generation of art historians. He has experience in exhibitions, community outreach, and is a well-respected scholar." (left: Dr. Douglas R. Nickel. Photo courtesy of Center for Creative Photography)

The appointment is the result of a comprehensive national search conducted by a 15-member committee representing various constituencies within the national, university and Tucson communities. Committee chair and Vice-provost Elizabeth Ervin commented, "The search committee has worked diligently and our extensive search has led to an ideal person. Doug fully understands that CCP is an international treasure and that we are so fortunate to have it here on the UA campus. I predict that Doug will forge strong ties to the academic units of the University, will build a strong community base, and will expand CCP's national and international profile."

On his appointment Nickel says, "I'm thrilled at the prospect of becoming the next director of the Center. The CCP was founded on a brilliant idea, totally unique in the world of photography: to become a place that collects, preserves and exhibits not only individual works, but entire careers. Its setting on the campus of a major research university positions it to become the preeminent institution for the study of photography and its history in this country, as it continues to originate important exhibitions and publications."

In addition to his selection as director, Nickel has been appointed to a tenured position as associate professor of art history in the College of Fine Arts. While curator at SFMOMA he taught both undergraduate and graduate classes at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, and has become an important professional voice for photography within the scholarly community as well as in the museum world. Nickel's academic affiliations will enhance the Center's legacy of attracting the best scholars in the field to study its incomparable holdings.

Nickel has been part of the curatorial staff at SFMOMA since 1993. In 1997he became the curator of photography where he helped develop the photography collection, organized original exhibitions, and supervised the installation of traveling exhibitions. His exhibitions include Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll (2002) which was accompanied by a substantial exhibition catalogue. Other exhibitions include Stranger Passing: Collected Portraits by Joel Sternfeld (2001); Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception (1999), the first major exhibition of the work of the 19th-century American landscape photographer; and Snapshots: The Photography of Everyday Life (1998). Since 1997 he has also organized two large-scale exhibitions of photography that have traveled to Seoul, Korea, the first such surveys to be presented in that country.

The author of books, reviews, and many articles, Nickel's volume Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine: A Victorian Photographer Abroad will be published by Princeton University Press in the fall. His essay "Roland Barthes and the Snapshot" appeared in the journal History of Photography and he contributed a chapter titled "Photography and Invisibility" to the exhibition catalogue The Artist and the Camera: Degas to Picasso. He has also published on William Henry Fox Talbot, Clarence White, Walker Evans, and the painters Winslow Homer and William Harnett, among others.

Nickel graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University in 1983 with a B.A. in art history. He received his Ph.D. in 1995 from Princeton University, where he specialized in the history of photography and American art. From 1986 to 1990 Nickel assisted in the photography department of the Art Museum, Princeton University, and also served as a teaching assistant in the university's art history department. Prior to his matriculation at Princeton, Nickel taught studio photography and art history classes at Cornell and for two years worked as an archaeological photographer in Turkey. 


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