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Water in the West collection

Identifier: AG 172

Scope and Contents

The Water in the West collection (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, photographs and other records related to the individual and collaborative projects undertaken by the participants in documenting water issues in the American West.

Series one contains various materials surrounding each member’s project that they conducted and labeled as a Water in the West project. Materials can encompass resumes, project narratives, correspondence, grant applications, conference materials, and production materials.

Series two is centered around publications created by members of the group such as books and materials that are about the projects conducted by members such as newspaper articles and artistic journals. Several of the materials found in this series use photographs from WITW projects but may not be about the artist.

Series three contains the photographic materials that were a part of the various projects. These include slides, contact sheets, proof or press prints, and an oversized print. Projects include Laurie Browns' Las Vegas periphery and Peter Goin's Pyramid lake project. Not all of the projects that are represented in Series one or two are found in Series three.


  • 1989-2013


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

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

Historical Note

The Water in the West Project was founded in 1989 by a collective of 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.


12 Boxes

8.71 Linear Feet

4.58 Cubic Feet

Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


The collection is arranged into series, which are further divided by artist or group affiliation (e.g. Peter Goin, Laurie Brown, Water in the West-general).

  1. Series 1: Project and Artist Files
  2. Series 2: Publications and Printed Material
  3. Series 3: Photographic Material

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.

Related Materials

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."

  • Droughts Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Hazardous wastes Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Rivers Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • West (U.S.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
Finding aid for the Water in the West collection 1989-2013
Finding aid was revised in 2022 by Elias Larralde.
Description rules
Finding Aid Based On Dacs (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid encoded in English

Repository Details

Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository

1030 N. Olive RD
Tucson Arizona 85721 United States