The Center for Creative Photography

Image of the front of the Center for Creative Photography

The Center for Creative Photography sits on the University of Arizona campus. It is recognizable as one of the premier academic art museums as well as research facilities for the study of photography. A meeting in 1974 between Ansel Adams and then University of Arizona president John Schaefer results in the creation of the CCP and finally its subsequent opening in 1975.

How it Started

In the beginning, it was the archival collections of five living photographers who were also Masters. They are Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and also Frederick Sommer. Today the Center houses 270 archival collections as well as over eight million works total.

Image of Ansel Adams the co-founder of the Center for Creative PhotographyShaefer said, “During the opening of a one-man exhibition of Ansel’s photographs at the University of Arizona’s Museum of Art, I ventured to ask him if he would be interested in placing the archives of his work at the University. Ansel, though somewhat surprised by the direct nature of my suggestion, responded by saying that he was not interested in having his work stand as an isolated collection. If, however, the University were willing to think in broader terms and include the works of many other photographers, he would be interested in exploring the possibilities. What followed was an invitation to visit him at his home in Carmel.”

The Collections

Collections at the Center for Creative Photography are broken up into Fine Art Photographs, Archives & Manuscripts, Rare Books & Reference Material, Oral Histories, and New Acquisitions. This is by no means a comprehensive list but it will give you an idea of their organization.

Recently the University of Arizona acquired the archives of David Hume Kennerly. Kennerly is famous for being one of the top photojournalists of our time. He continues to document important living history around the world today. The CCP is, in fact, extremely happy to have his work in their collection.


The Center for Creative Photography digital archivesDon’t forget this is a research museum. Much of what they do, outside of acquiring archives, is digital imaging and preservation. The CCP wants to ensure that future generations have access to these amazing works. In fact, their oral history department does video interviews with notable figures in photography. This method provides a unique way to look back on history through the eyes of those photographing it.

Visiting the Center for Creative Photography

In summation, we absolutely think you should check out the Center while it Tucson. It will be well worth your time.

Have fun, Tony Ray 😎
Certified Tourism Ambassador for Tucson AZ
Tucson Real Estate Agent Since 1994

Admission is Free
Tuesday – Friday:
10 AM – 4:30 PM

1030 North Olive Road
P.O. Box 210103
Tucson, AZ 85721-0103