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Water in the West collection 1989-2013

AG 172

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Water in the West
Title: Water in the West collection
Inclusive Dates: 1989-2013
Quantity: 8 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Abstract: The Water in the West archive (AG 172) holds biographical materials about the project directors Robert Dawson and Ellen Manchester, and about the participants Laurie Brown, Gregory Conniff, Terry Evans, Geoff Fricker, Peter Goin, Wanda Hammerbeck, Sant Khalsa, Mark Klett, Ellen Land-Weber, Sharon Stewart and Martin Stupich. The collection also holds notes, research materials, press coverage, clippings, catalogs, contact sheets, and other records related to the individual and collaborative projects undertaken by the participants in documenting water issues in the American West.
Identification: AG 172
Language: Material in English
Repository: Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona
1030 N. Olive Rd., P.O. Box 210103
Tucson, AZ 85721-0103
Phone: 520-621-6273
Fax: 520-621-9444

Historical Note

The Water in the West Project was founded in 1989 by eight photographers to create an archive of contemporary photographs and to collect historical images on a wide range of topics related to the water and landscape issues in the American West. This is the first initiation of a landscape collection of this size since the 1930’s, when the Farm Security Administration commissioned photographers to document the efforts of social and political policies on the American landscape and culture. This collection serves as a resource for scholars in the fields of art history, western history, landscape studies and planning, geography, and environmental studies.

Photographers have a unique opportunity to document the complex history of landscape and its relationship to water in the West. The Water in the West participants are using their photography to investigate and challenge conventional landscape imagery, and to question predominate cultural myths and resulting attitudes that have created the current crisis of water quality and quantity in the American West. The project is a group effort, requiring collaboration among photographers regarding one main topic: water.

Scope and Content

The Water in the West archive contains correspondence, notes, research materials, press coverage, publications, and other materials undertaken by the participants in documenting water issues in the American West. The series, Project Files, contains eight boxes, which are arranged by photographer. There is also a box of research materials related to A Doubtful River, by Peter Goin.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:
Series 1: Project Files, Water in the West


Conditions Governing Access

Access to this collection requires an appointment with the Volkerding Study Center.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is held by each individual artist.

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright owner (which could be the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates or literary executors) prior to any copyright-protected uses of the collection.

The user agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Center of Creative Photography, including its officers, employees, and agents, from and against all claims made relating to copyright or other intellectual property infringement

Related Material

Five, VHS videotapes from SPE Forum, 3/12/1999: “Water in the West: The Evolution of an Archive.”

696 photographs held in the Fine Print collection.

The CCP also holds a complete set of photographs from the Central Arizona Project Survey, undertaken by Mark Klett, Ruthe Morand, Lawrence McFarland, and Ann Simmons-Myers in 1984-86. The Central Arizona Project (CAP) was constructed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation to divert water from the Colorado River for use in central and southern Arizona.

As part of the Ansel and Virginia Adams Collection are a number of stereoviews of the Hetch Hetchy Valley made by Sierra Club activist Joseph LeConte. Hetch Hetchy, just north of Yosemite, was inundated when the Tuolumne River was dammed in 1923 to create a reservoir serving San Francisco and the Bay Area 160 miles away.

The Barry M. Goldwater Collection (AG 88) includes views made while on a float trip down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1940. This trip, also documented in the book A Trip Down the Green and Colorado Rivers, 1940 (Phoenix, AZ: H. Walker, 1940), included Glen Canyon, which was later inundated to form Lake Powell.

The Mieth/Hagel Archive (AG 170) holds notes, negatives, transparencies, and contact sheets from Otto Hagel's 1961 extensive essay on water issues in California for Life magazine under the working title “California Water Story."

Controlled Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Brown, Laurie
Conniff, Gregory
Dawson, Robert
Evans, Terry
Fricker, Geoffrey
Goin, Peter
Hammerbeck, Wanda
Khalsa, Sant
Klett, Mark
Land-Weber, Ellen E.
Manchester, Ellen
Stewart, Sharon
Stupich, Martin


Administrative Information

Custodial History

Collection materials for the archive were donated by the Water in the West project members between 1998 and 2001. An additional donation by Peter Goin was made in 2015.

Preferred Citation

Water in the West collection, 1989-2013. AG 172. Center for Creative Photography. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.

Other Finding Aid

Please visit the CCP website for a more descriptive version of the finding aid, which includes a detailed inventory list.

Container List

Project Files, Water in the West 1989-2013 8 boxes
Materials relating to Water in the West projects including correspondence, biographical material, clippings, publications, project proposals, and exhibition materials.