The Center for Creative Photography is ambitious. It has collected more than 100,000 art objects; 90% of them are photographs. Its goal is to eventually offer a complete, searchable database containing its entire collection, calling this a work in progress. In the meantime, it continues to collect the finest works of outstanding photographers like Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Gary Winogrand, etc. I included that last name because he’s my favorite. The staff assured me that The Center for Creative Photography will almost always have one of his photographs available for viewing.
While they make this database dream come true, the curious can get an idea of what they have by going to ccp-emuseum.catnet.arizona.edu to see the memorable but uncredited “Night Skies”and an unusual Ansel Adams self-portrait taken in Monument Valley. Click on the photos shown to see many examples of Adam’s best work. Did you know, by the way, that before he became one of the world’s most famous photographers his career of choice was music? Adams, I recently found out, started playing the piano when he was 12. By 1920 his intended profession was concert pianist. I saw a filmed performance and he was fine, but he would have been one of many fine musicians. As a photographer he took brain-searing pictures not quickly forgotten. He claimed that the piano, which he continued to practice, gave him discipline and affected his visual acuity.
If you make it to Tucson and visit the Center for Creative Photography, you won’t see what I did. The curators constantly change what’s on view. It’s on the campus of the University of Arizona and is surely among the largest photo collections in the world. I goggled “the world’s largest photo collection” to try to verify this but failed.
Also on this campus and also definitely worth a look is the University of Arizona Museum of Art. The Park Avenue parking garage is across Speedway Blvd. from it and the photo museum is just a few steps away. I was greeted in the University of Arizona Museum of Art by a volunteer as if I was a returning prodigal son and was amazed at the pride and enthusiasm she and others exhibited. I was also amazed at what I saw. This is the kind of museum I would normally find in a much larger city. It has benefited from several big donations, so artists like Hopper, Rembrandt, etc. are on view in some of its 8 galleries. UAMA’s staff also dreams up unusual temporary shows like the upcoming “Art in Service: Military Families Create”. It’s on view from August to November, 2016.
While we were in Tucson, Ruth and I both vowed to return as soon as possible, but not in summer, and agreed that this city of slightly more than 500,000 has many more attractions than we would normally find in a city this size. TripAdvisor lists 65 museums and 50 Nature and Park attractions. Sabino Canyon and 2 sections of Saguaro National Park on either side of this city are well-known, but 5 Compass Tohono Chul Park is not. We have a waiter to thank for telling us about it.