Skip to Main Content

Art History Research Resources: Photography

Finding Background Info

Use reference resources to locate basic and contextual information on photographers, photographic process, and techniques, among other topics.

Oxford Art Online is the most comprehensive art history encyclopedia.

Finding Books

Use the library catalog to search for individual photographers, types of photography, or photography subjects.  

Books about photography are shelved at the TR call number, located on Reynolds 1.  Here is how that call number area is organized:

  • TR1-125: History of photography
  • TR139-140: Photographers, A-Z
  • TR200-212: Photographic processing
  • TR250-265: Cameras
  • TR267-267.5: Digital photography
  • TR270-271: Lenses
  • TR287-500: Darkroom technique
    • TR365: Daguerreotype
  • TR510-545: Color photography
  • TR590-620: Lighting
  • TR624-835: Applied photography
    • TR640-689: Artistic photography
      • TR660-660.5: Landscape photography
      • TR679: Fashion photography
    • TR690-690.6: Commercial photography
    • TR721-733: Nature photography
    • TR820: Photojournalism
    • TR820.5: Documentary photography
    • TR820.6: War photography
  • TR845-899.5: Cinematography

Finding Images & Websites

Locate quality images for your projects using these two image databases.

There are many quality websites dealing with photography, if you know where to look.  These types of websites generally fall into one of these categories:

  • museum collections
  • university or faculty sponsored sites
  • academic or open-access journals
  • scholarly or historical societies and their conference proceedings
  • companions to television productions or other media events
  • national archives
  • videos or podcasts of lectures, panel discussions, or interviews

Here are a few examples of appropriate websites to use for research:

For more general information on locating images and websites and links to many more resources, see this section of the guide.

Finding Articles

When looking for scholarly research articles, here are some features to look for:

  • a minimum of 8-10 pages in length
  • author is an academic (professor, PhD, researcher, etc...)
  • published in an academic journal 
  • the bibliography is appropriate for the article length

The following databases will contain articles appropriate for your assignment.


The Chicago Notes-Bibliography style is recommended for art citations.  In addition to examples for how to cite books and journal articles, Chicago has specific rules for different types of artworks and citations of exhibition catalogs.  See 14.235 for how to cite paintings, photographs, and sculpture, and 14.236 for how to cite exhibition catalogs.

For all resources you use in your project you need to collect the following information:

  • author/creator/artist
  • title of the work
  • when it was created
    • publication date
    • exhibition date
    • posting date
  • where it can be found
    • publisher/place of publication
    • stable URL or DOI#

For artworks, you may also need to include additional information:

  • dimensions
    • length of time (film or sound recording)
    • physical size (sculpture or painting)
  • media or material
    • photograph
    • marble
    • paint on brick
    • sound recording
  • where it can be found
    • museum, collection, or physical location