Skip to main content

Joe Deal papers

Identifier: AG 229

Scope and Contents

The Joe Deal papers contain biographical materials, correspondence, activity files, photographic materials, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia. The bulk of the collection consists of exhibition information, including contracts, loan agreements, exhibition flyers, invites, and photographic materials from exhibitions. There is little information on Joe Deal’s personal life in the collection. His career is mainly documented through photographic materials chronicling his work as both a professor of arts in photography, and as an artist.

The first series, biographical materials, spans 1966-2009 and includes material about Joe Deal from the beginning of his career until his untimely death of bladder cancer. The series includes information on Joe Deal’s Conscientious Objector status and applications, as well as records of his Selective Service. Records of Deal’s employment can be found in this series and includes his most recent resume. Also in the employment subseries can be found Deal’s hiring paperwork from Washington University, 1989, manuscript materials on his commencement, and miscellaneous talks he gave (1990-1999). Letters to faculty and the RISD community, convocation materials can be found here dating from 1999-2005.

The second series, correspondence, is divided into alphabetical and chronological correspondence from 1972-2010. The alphabetical correspondence consists of letters and other correspondence to and from photographer Joe Deal to friends and business associates. The miscellaneous correspondence consists of three folders of chronological letters, all covering a variety of subjects including Deal’s work, exhibition submissions, and letters to and from friends.

The Activity Files, 1972-2011, is arranged into ten subseries. The first subseries, Fellowships, contains files on National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Awards (1976 & 1979), Guggenheim Fellowship Award (1983) and other miscellaneous awards, documentation of photographic process, and financial records from 1973-2006. The second subseries includes interviews, and consists of cassette tapes of Horst P. Horst interview conducted July 7, 1975. This series also includes audiocassette tapes of an Interview with photographer Anton Bruehl and a radio interview with Joe Deal on Radical Rational/Space Time Idea Networks in Photography March-May 1983. The third subseries consists of an article written by Deal, while the fourth subseries contains writings about Joe Deal. Records of Deal’s symposia and lecture activities are a large portion of the lectures and symposia subseries. The collection includes his teaching materials, some of which can also be found within the photographic materials series. Deal had book deals and designed many exhibition catalogs, which are included in the publications subseries of the Activity Files series. Joe Deal was commissioned to do several projects during his career; this commissioned work is another subseries of the activity files. The Getty Commission was his most extensive work and lasted over a decade. Included in the project files are exhibition materials, clippings from coverage and site documentation, along with his contracts and invoices and a book written on the project, “Between Nature and Culture: Photographs of the Getty Center,” with forward “The Construction of Culture” by Mark Johnstone. Deal was commissioned to document the construction of MOCA in Los Angeles during the Getty commission. Other survey commissions included in the collection are the Los Angeles Survey, Subdividing the Inland Basin, and Deal’s Long Beach Survey. Included in the NEA controversy subseries are letters from Congress, media reports and panel member’s statements. Deal kept records of the NEA grant review guidelines, recipients and compliance contracts prior to the 1990 policy change, and letters written to and received from Anne-Imelda Radice, the new Senior Deputy Chairman of NEA director during the controversy. Also Included in the subseries is a report requested for President Bill Clinton: “The Future of the National Endowment for the Arts.” Of particular interest in the activity files series is the exhibitions subseries, consisting of information on the multitude of solo and group exhibitions between 1972 -2011 which included Deal’s photographic works. Deal exhibited globally and records of his exhibitions are a highlight of the collection. The research files subseries is broken down into two sub-subseries: miscellaneous research information and maps and brochures. Deal’s research included maps and site histories and resulted in projects that included Fault Zone, Karst & Karst, Karst & Pseudo Karst and West & West.

The photographic materials series includes all black and white and color 35mm, 2 ¼ and 4 x 5 negatives and corresponding contact sheets made between 1971 and 2007 related to any of the series or individual prints included in the collection at the CCP regardless if they were ever used to produce exhibition or other prints; with the exception of “Topos” and “Between Nature and Culture” which were projects commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Museum — by contract negatives from these two projects are with the J. Paul Getty Trust. Prints of Joe Deal’s grad projects as well as his classmates are included. This series also includes West & West CD scans found in the prints subseries, but includes both scans of negatives and prints. Deal made three calotypes of Carbon Canyon and three prints of each are included in this series.

The fifth and final series in the collection is memorabilia. The collection consists of rare vintage maps, George Eastman exhibitions from 1967-1977, as well as student exhibition posters and other event posters. Some of this section may be cross-referenced with lectures, symposia and judged exhibitions. Deal also collected the Photographers Baseball Cards series of Mike Mandel (1975), and collected all but 16 of the photographers.


  • 1966-2009


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

Joe Deal was born Joseph Maurice Deal August 12, 1947 in Topeka Kansas and was raised in Minnesota and Missouri. Deal is ranked high among the 1970s new generation of the new Manifest Destiny landscape photographers. Known for his anthropological perspective on the landscape, Joe Deal juxtaposed the natural landscape against the man-altered landscape, highlighting the faults of human industry and their effects on our landscape.

Joe Deal attended a local college before transferring to Kansas City Art Institute. This transfer served two purposes: one, KCAI had a more rigorous and refined art program, and two, the college he was attending prior did not hold the credentials needed to satisfy the government requirement for degree seeking for his Deal’s conscientious objector application. Deal worked diligently from 1966-1970 to receive conscientious objector status, and carefully documented his journey through the government vetting process of citizens who qualify as a C.O.; he also kept records of his Selective Service, which is required as an objector. After graduating from KCAI Deal moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Deal’s conscientious objector status required civil service work equivalent to the debt to society military service would contribute. Joe Deal, unable to find work in Albuquerque that satisfied both him and the government requirements for civil service, sent a letter requesting work at the George Eastman House; he was hired as a janitor at the photography museum and moved to Rochester, New York. It was during this time William (Bill) Jenkins, assistant curator of twentieth century photography at the Eastman House, was organizing a show of new landscape works by young up and coming individual artists. Through his relationship with Jenkins, Deal participated in the show's earliest planning stages. He helped Jenkins with pre-publication mock-ups and press proofs for the catalogue, which he designed, as well as the publicity materials and the exhibit catalogue. Deal also worked on the design and installation of the exhibition in the gallery. Working closely together with Jenkins provided Deal the opportunity to submit his works for the 1975 New Topographics exhibit. After the exhibit Joe Deal was appointed Director of Exhibitions at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House from 1975-1976.

Deal simultaneously received his Master of Art (MA) degree, in photography, from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque while collaborating with Jenkins on the New Topographics exhibit. Deal went on to receive his Master of Fine Art (MFA) from UNM at Albuquerque in 1978. He was an active professor of photography throughout his career. In his last years of his MFA from UNM Albuquerque Joe Deal was an Assistant Professor of Art at University of California, Riverside from 1976-1981, actually starting the photography program there. During this Assistant professorship Deal would receive two Artist’s Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), one in 1977 and another in 1980. He was made Associate Professor in 1981 and continued to teach at UC Riverside until 1986. During his Associate Professorship at UC Riverside Deal was also a chairperson in the Arts Program. In 1983 Joe Deal was awarded a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Joe Deal became full professor in 1986 and until 1989 Deal served as a UC Riverside professor and Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the university. Deal lectured from 1979-2009 and was active as a judge at many conferences. He lectured for the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the National Council of Art Administrators (NCAA), Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) and the Mid-American College of Art Association (MACAA).

Joe Deal had multiple commissions of survey projects and site documentation. Commissioned by the Art Museum and Galleries, California State College in Long Beach and the NEA, Deal committed to the Long Beach survey project in 1980. The following year the Photography Museum in Los Angeles and the NEA commissioned the Los Angeles survey project. Joe Deal had one decade long (plus) site documentation commission. Asked to document the landscape and building changes of the construction of the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, California in 1984, Deal continued this documentation until 1997. Deal simultaneously documented the construction of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles from 1984-1986.

From 1990-1998 Deal served as a member of several National Endowment for the Arts panels, including Photographers Fellowships, Challenge Grant, Special Projects, and the Overview Panel for the Visual Arts Program. It was during this time the controversies of Jesse Helms, et al., and the NEA, dominated the national news. Several of these panels were caught in the crossfire of the issue of censorship; as chair of the Overview Panel for the Visual Arts Program, Deal was responsible for communicating panel and program concerns to the NEA administration and the National Council on the Arts.

Throughout Deal’s professional art career, which includes works such as the aforementioned 14 pieces in the New Topographics exhibit, The Fault Zone, West & West and Karst and Pseudo Karst, Deal served as faculty and administration at the aforementioned UC Riverside 1978-1986, Washington University in St. Louis Missouri (1989-1999), and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) (1999-2000) where he received a provost assignment in 1998 that lasted until the summer of 2010 when on June 18 Joe Deal succumbed to bladder cancer.


30 Linear Feet

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Collection contains papers, photographic materials, ephemera and miscellaneous materials documenting the life and career of photographer and teacher, Joe Deal (1947-2010). Included are correspondence, exhibition announcements, lecture notes, clippings, publications, travel documents, rare exhibition posters, memorabilia, photographic prints and negatives.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Series 1: Series 1: Biographical materials, 1970-2009, 3 boxes
  2. Subseries 1: Military, n.d., 1 folder
  3. Subseries 2: Employment, n.d., 1970-2009, 3 boxes
  4. Series 2: Correspondence, n.d., 1972-2010, 1 box
  5. Subseries 1: General, alphabetical, n.d., 1973-2009, 36 folders
  6. Subseries 2: Institutions, alphabetical, n.d., 1972-2010, 49 folders
  7. Subseries 3: Miscellaneous, n.d., 1973-2009, 4 folders
  8. Series 3: Activity files, n.d., 1972-2011, 9 boxes
  9. Subseries 1: Fellowships, 1973-2006, 5 folders
  10. Subseries 2: Interviews, 1975-1999, 1 box, 1 folder
  11. Subseries 3: Writings by Deal, 1997, 1 folder
  12. Subseries 4: Writings about Deal, 1982-1997, 3 folders
  13. Subseries 5: Lectures and symposia, n.d., 1979-2009, 3 boxes
  14. Subseries 6: Publications, n.d., 1974-2009, 2 boxes
  15. Subseries 7: Commissioned work, n.d., 1 box
  16. Sub-subseries 1: Getty commission, n.d., 5 folders
  17. Sub-subseries 2: MOCA commission, n.d., 3 folders
  18. Subseries 8: NEA controversy, 1990-1995, 18 folders
  19. Subseries 9: Exhibitions, n.d., 1972-2011, 5 boxes
  20. Sub-subseries 1: Solo exhibitions, 1973-2010, 19 folders
  21. Sub-subseries 2: Group exhibitions, n.d., 1972-2011, 5 boxes
  22. Subseries 10: Research files, n.d., 1976, 1 box
  23. Sub-subseries 1: Miscellaneous research information, n.d., 1976, 14 folders
  24. Sub-subseries 2: Maps and brochures, n.d., 4 folders
  25. Series 4: Photographic materials, 1969-2007, 23 boxes
  26. Subseries 1: Negatives, n.d., 1971-1985, 10 boxes
  27. Subseries 2: Slides, n.d., 1973-1990, 3 boxes
  28. Subseries 3: Transparencies, n.d., 1986-1989, 2 boxes
  29. Subseries 4: Portfolios, 1969-1974, 1 box
  30. Subseries 5: Work prints, n.d., 1973, 2 boxes
  31. Subseries 6: Prints, n.d., 1984, 2 boxes
  32. Series 5: Memorabilia, 1855-2008, 7 boxes

Custodial History

Gift of Joe Deal 2009. Gift of Betsy Ruppa 2012.

Processing Information

Finding aid updated by Kari Quiballo and Leah Rios, 2015. Finding aid updated by Alexis Peregoy, 2016. Finding aid was again updated by Tai Huesgen, 2019.

Joe Deal papers bulk 1966-2009
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