Peter C. Bunnell

David Hunter McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art Emeritus
History of Photography and Modern Art

M.F.A., Ohio University, 1961; M.A., Yale University, 1965

Peter Bunnell was the inaugural McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art, the nation’s first endowed professorship of the history of photography. Prior to coming to Princeton in 1972, he was curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From 1973 to 1978 he was also director of the Princeton University Art Museum, and he served as acting director from 1998 to 2000. For thirty years he was curator of photography at the museum, where he was also responsible for the Minor White Archive and the Clarence H. White Collection. In 1998, in celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the museum’s photography collection, Bunnell edited the volume Photography at Princeton, with a full history and documentation of the collection.

Bunnell’s book Minor White: The Eye That Shapes, which accompanied a retrospective exhibition of White’s photographs that opened at the Museum of Modern Art in 1989, won George Wittenborn Memorial Award of the Art Libraries Society of North America. He has also authored three monographs on Jerry N. Uelsmann. His other publications include anthologies—A Photographic Vision: Pictorial Photography, 1889–1923; Edward Weston on Photography; andAperture Magazine Anthology: The Minor White Years, 1952–1976—and a catalogue devoted to the work of Clarence H. White. He was the coeditor of two Arno Press reprint series The Literature of Photographyand The Sources of Modern Photography.

He has published essays on collecting photographs; large-format photography, photography as printmaking and sculpture, and portraiture; on various galleries; and a wide range of photographers, including Diane Arbus, Ruth Bernhard, Paul Caponigro, Walter Chappell, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Emmet Gowin, Gertrude Kasebier, Michael Kenna, Michiko Kon, Ray K. Metzker, Barbara Morgan, Wright Morris, John Pfahl, Edward Ranney, Aaron Siskind, and Alfred Stieglitz. His essays, reviews, and commentaries have appeared in Afterimage, American Art, Art in America, Artscanada, Arts in Virginia, Camera, Camera Mainichi, Choice, Creative Camera, European Photography, Exposure, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review, Print Collector’s Newsletter, La revue du Musée d’Orsay, and Untitled.

In 1978 Bunnell wrote the catalogue and curated the Harry Callahan exhibition for the United States Pavilion at the 38th Biennale di Venezia. His television experience includes work for the NET Network and consultation on the continuing “American Masters” series.

The recipient of a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation (1979), Bunnell was also awarded a fellowship by the Asian Cultural Council (1984) that enabled him to travel and lecture extensively in Japan. He has taught at New York University, Dartmouth College, and Yale University, and has participated in numerous international symposia. Bunnell has served as chair of the Society for Photographic Education and chair of the board of The Friends of Photography. He remains a member of numerous advisory committees to museums and publications. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.

Publications List: 
Selected Publications

Aperture Magazine Anthology: The Minor White Years, 1952–1976, editor (Aperture Foundation, 2012).

Inside the Photograph: Writings on Twentieth-Century Photography (Aperture Foundation, 2006).

Photography at Princeton: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Collecting and Teaching the History of Photography, editor (The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1998).

Degrees of Guidance: Essays on Twentieth-Century American Photography (Cambridge University Press, 1993).

“The Art of Pictorial Photography, 1890–1925,” Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 51.2 (1992).

Minor White: The Eye That Shapes (The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1989).

Edward Weston on Photography, editor (P. Smith Books, 1983).

A Photographic Vision: Pictorial Photography, 1889–1923, editor (P. Smith Books, 1980).

Jerry N. Uelsmann: Silver Meditations (Morgan & Morgan, 1975).

The City: American Experience, coedited with Alan Trachtenberg and Peter Neill (Oxford University Press, 1971).