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Joan Liftin collection

Identifier: AG 262

Scope and Contents

The Joan Liftin Archive contains files from reportage projects undertaken throughout the United States from the 1980s through the 2000s, including prints, negatives, slides, and contact sheets along with published newspaper articles and magazine reviews. Manuscripts and published volumes edited or sequenced by Liftin, along with “dummy” copies of her own books, are included within the project files. Catalogues from the Centro de la Imagen, detailing Liftin’s time spent teaching in Mexico, are also present. Exhibition materials include postcards and reviews of exhibitions in which Liftin’s work was featured. Published material consists primarily of magazines and books featuring images made by Liftin or Charles Harbutt. Photographic materials including fine prints, negatives, slides, and contact sheets from both reportage and fine art projects are also present in the archive.


  • 1972-2016

Language of Materials

Material in English, Italian, French

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

Joan Liftin is an American photographer and photo editor. She was born in Teaneck, NJ, in 1935 and grew up in New York City. Liftin studied modern dance at the Connecticut Dance School before pursuing a degree in journalism at Ohio State University, where she received a BA in 1957. Liftin danced with the Ann Halprin, Weland Lathrop, and Jose Limon companies until 1971. She began her photography career while working as a photo editor at the United Nations from 1971-1975. Liftin photographed assignments for UNICEF in Haiti, Peru, Chile, Algeria, and Iran while at the U.N. In 1975 Liftin joined the staff of Magnum, and served as the Director of the Magnum Photo Library until 1980.

During her time at Magnum in the late 1970s Liftin began to develop an independent photographic practice. She directed the International Center for Photography’s Documentary and Journalism program from 1989-2001. She married fellow photographer Charles Harbutt in 1978. Liftin has received a CAPS grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and in 2010 she was the recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant. Her work is included in the collections of the Center for Creative Photography, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Princeton University, among others.


10 Linear Foot (10 boxes)

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Project and teaching files, exhibition files, publications and printed material, and photographic materials from the 1970s through 2016 of Joan Liftin (1935-), photographer and teacher.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Series 1: Activity Files, 1978-2017, 3 boxes
  2. Series 2: Exhibition Files, 1972-2014, .5 box
  3. Series 3: Published Materials, 1976-2016, 2.25 boxes
  4. Series 4: Photographic Materials, 1984-2004, 1.5 boxes

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Joan Liftin, 2016. Additional accruals of material sent regularly, with most recent accruals received in 2021.

Processing Information

Processed in December of 2017 by Andy Hayt. Accrual added by Elias Larralde in 2022.

Joan Liftin archive 1972-2016
CCP Staff. Finding Aid was updated in 2022 by Elias Larralde and Alexis Peregoy [Added photographic materials and boxes 8 - 13]
© 2017
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