Skip to main content

Laura Volkerding miscellaneous acquisitions collection

Identifier: AG 256

Scope and Contents

Subgroup one includes two black-and-white portraits of Laura Volkerding taken by Tom McCormick. Subgroup two includes one black-and-white portrait of Robert Gottlieb by Laura Volkerding, as well as correspondence and a snapshot of Volkerding.


  • circa 1970s-1989


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

Educator and photographer Laura Volkerding (1939-1996) began her artistic career making prints and drawings, and discovered her passion for photography in 1972, at age thirty-three. Volkerding studied fine arts at the University of Louisville and the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology where she received a Master’s degree in graphic design. She taught at University of Chicago from 1970 to 1980, and then served as a senior lecturer in photography at Stanford University until her death in 1996. Citing photographs by Walker Evans and Art Sinsabaugh, as well as Chicago’s modernist architecture as visual influences, Volkerding’s early photographic work depicts quirky vernacular architecture, campgrounds and suggestive landscapes. In the late 1970s, Laura Volkerding, Nicholas Nixon, Stephen Shore, Frank Gohlke, and Lewis Baltz were among twenty-four photographers chosen to participate in an intensive project entitled Court House that documented historic court house architecture across America. Published in 1979, the monograph Court House: A Photographic Document exhibits a diverse and inclusive examination of America’s architectural heritage. In 1980, Volkerding moved to California and embarked on a project documenting the development of the San Francisco and San Pablo Bay waterfronts creating panoramic images by joining continuous frames of 5 x 7 inch negatives into a more expansive view.

Volkerding experimented with multiple photographic formats before settling, in 1984, on the rich clarity of prints produced with a Deardorff 8 x 10 inch view camera. This same year, Volkerding discovered the subject that would drive her work for over a decade: Les Compagnons du Devoir, a French sculpture apprentice community founded in medieval times. Their history of sculptural practice and reverence for craftsmanship resonated for Volkerding. She was attracted to the figurative and architectural forms that populated their work space. Volkerding photographed classrooms and apprentice projects, foundries and workshops, and cathedral restoration projects. The images suggest the presence of the craftsmen, but are devoid of the actual artisans, thus alluding to the longer craft tradition rather than the contemporary individuals. In addition to making many photographs of Les Compagnons in France, Volkerding photographed other sculpture workshops in Quebec, Tunisia, Spain, Greece, Italy, and the United States. This body of work was exhibited at Stanford in 1986; in 1988 she was awarded her second Guggenheim fellowship. The Center for Creative Photography published a related monograph, Solomon’s Temple: the European Building-Crafts Legacy, shortly before Volkerding’s death.


0.5 Linear Feet

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Materials in this collection are related to educator and photographer Laura Volkerding.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Subgroup 1, 1973
  2. Subgroup 2, circa 1970s, 1988-1989

Custodial History

Subgroup One, gift of Thomas McCormick, 2016.

Subgroup Two, gift of Robert Gottlieb, 2017.

Related Materials

AG 162 – Laura Volkerding collection

Processing Information

Finding aid updated by Alexis Peregoy in 2018.

Laura Volkerding Miscellaneous Acquisitions collection circa 1970s-1989
Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
© 2020
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