Caitlin Ryan



A Ph.D. candidate in art & archaeology, Caitlin Ryan is a specialist in the history of photography and modern art. Her scholarship centers on photography’s relationship to political ideology, debates around the concept of the documentary, and the history of photojournalism. She is working on her dissertation, “Documents of Social Life: The Photographic Section of the French Association of Revolutionary Writers and Artists, 1932–1938,” tracing a group of left-wing photographers across the cultural, social, and political landscape of 1930s Paris. Her research has been funded by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. A 2018–2019 Chateaubriand Fellowship in the Humanities, in affiliation with the Sorbonne, supported sustained research in Parisian archives. At Princeton, Ryan was a graduate affiliate in the Program in European Cultural Studies, an assistant-in-instruction for the introductory survey on modern art, and an instructor with the organization New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ-STEP) and the Princeton Prison Teaching Initiative. She has taught at Georgia State University and has held positions in the photography departments of numerous museums, including the Princeton University Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and The Museum of Modern Art, where she was a 2020–2021 Mellon-Marron Research Consortium (MRC) Fellow and currently serves as a curatorial assistant in photography.

Selected Publications

“Visual Ecologies,” “Movement in Picture Form,” “The Social Archive” and “Performance as Ethnography,” in Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum (New York: MoMA Publications, forthcoming March 2022).

“Motion Pictures: Hollywood, Celebrity, and LIFE,” in Katherine Bussard and Kristen Gresh, eds., Life Magazine and The Power of Photography (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020).

“Eli Lotar and Jacques-André Boiffard Aboard the Exir Dallen,” RACAR: Revue d’art canadienne/Canadian Art Review 44, no. 2 (Spring 2019).

“A Thing of Freedom: Clarence H. White and Aesthetic Dance,” in Anne McCauley, Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895–1925 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017).

Modern Art