Contextualizing the Rhode Island School of Design group portfolios and the state of art photography in the 1960s and 1970s
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 14:09 by Rachel E. Andrews
The students and faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design produced fourteen annual group portfolios between the years 1967-1981. The George Eastman House collection contains nine of the fourteen group portfolios created. The group portfolios add to the discourse surrounding university photographic education programs in the late 1960s and 1970s. The tradition of annual university group portfolios creates a tangible link between photographic education programs, the photography market, and collecting art photography. The Rhode Island School of Design group portfolios demonstrate that professional art photographers taught photography to make a living while inspiring the next generation of art photographers. The seriousness of teaching photography further validated photography as an art form. Also during this time, the number of university photography programs increased, the photography market flourished, and institutions developed independent photography departments. The combination of these factors progressively led to photography’s acceptance as an autonomous artistic medium.