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Focus: Friends of Photography

Meet other photography lovers, enjoy special programs that explore this popular medium, and discover the museum’s impressive collection of photographs.

Tom's Camera, 2000 (negative), 2000 (print), by D. W. Mellor


Join Focus and enjoy special access to the world of photography, including private collections, artists, and curators, as well as lectures, gallery talks, receptions, art fairs, and other events.

The museum’s internationally acclaimed photography collection encompasses works of art dating from the invention of the medium to now. Membership contributions help our collection of more than 33,000 photographs continue to grow.

Peter Barberie, Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, provides curatorial oversight for Focus.

Installation view of framed photographs on the walls of a gallery


Every year, Focus members explore the world of photography together through exclusive programming. Keep an eye on your inbox for invitations to events like these:

Behind the Scenes
Go beyond what the public sees with private tours and hands-on demonstrations from the museum experts and contemporary photographers.

Exhibition & Collection Celebrations
Celebrate the openings of the museum’s special exhibitions that feature photography—with the photographer in attendance. Recent shows have highlighted the work of David Lebe, Larry Fink, and Richard Benson.

Annual Year-End Celebration
Raise a glass to the works of art acquired for the museum’s photography collection.

Day Trips
Spend time exploring our curators’ handpicked selection of the best exhibitions and art spots up and down the East Coast.

Visit the relaunched AIPAD Photography Show, which features more than 80 of the world’s leading photography art galleries. See our curators’ top picks at the show and share your favorite finds.

The backs of three people looking at large printed photographs

Join Focus

Join Focus at the $500 level, and 50% of your gift will help fund the group’s activities with the other half directed toward annual purchases of art. Become a Focus Benefactor at $1,000 annually, and 25% of your gift will help fund Focus activities, with the remaining 75% directed toward annual purchases of works of art.

Film strips of black and white photo negatives

A Brief History of Our Photography Collection

The museum’s distinguished collection of photography—which you support as a member of Focus—makes Philadelphia an internationally renowned center for the study and appreciation of the art form.

Artist and collector Dorothy Norman founded the Alfred Stieglitz Center at the museum in 1968 with gifts from her collection and funds for further acquisitions. Her foundational gift built on the 1949 gift from Georgia O’Keeffe of sixty-nine works by Alfred Stieglitz. Since then, our holdings have grown dramatically and now include work by Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Roy DeCarava, Robert Frank, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans, Carrie Mae Weems, and more.

In 2001, the museum obtained a magnificent cache of 2,500 photographs amassed by collector and gallerist Julien Levy. More than 130 artists are represented, and include Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Joseph Cornell, Man Ray, Lee Miller, and László Moholy-Nagy.

Another cornerstone of the collection is the archive of American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand. With nearly 4,000 works by Strand, we have become the world’s largest and most comprehensive repository of his oeuvre.