Finding Aid to the Morrie Camhi Photograph Archive, 1970-1988

Chris McDonald, Raquel Parra and Estela Sanchez
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
© 2013
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Morrie Camhi Photograph Archive, 1970-1988

Collection number: BANC PIC 2005.109

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
Finding Aid Author(s):
Chris McDonald, Raquel Parra and Estela Sanchez
Date Completed:
2013
Finding Aid Encoded By:
GenX
© 2013 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Morrie Camhi photograph archive
Date (inclusive): 1970-1988
Collection Number: BANC PIC 2005.109
Photographer: Camhi, Morrie
Extent: 31 boxes (circa 1,380 photographic prints and circa 11,630 negatives) : b&w ; 16 x 20 in. or smaller
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English

Information for Researchers

Access Information

B boxes 1, 5, 6, 9, 15 and 16 RESTRICTED EXHIBITION PRINTS. Consult finding aid for shelving locations of smaller use prints. Access to restricted prints only by permission of the appropriate curator. Inquiries regarding these materials should be directed, in writing, to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library.
NEGATIVES RESTRICTED. Use of negatives only by permission of the appropriate curator. Inquiries regarding these materials should be directed, in writing, to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library.

Conditions of Use

Copyright retained by the photographer's heir for her lifetime, after which it has been granted to the library.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Morrie Camhi photograph archive, BANC PIC 2005.109, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
Camhi, Morrie--Archives.
Agricultural laborers--California--Portraits.
Jews--Greece--Portraits.
Mexican Americans--Portraits.
Migrant agricultural laborers--California--Portraits.
Personals--California--San Francisco Bay Area.
Prisoners--California--Vacaville--Portraits.
Prisons--California-Vacaville--Officials and employees--Portraits.
Single people--California--San Francisco Bay Area--Portraits.
Portraits--California.
Portraits--Greece.

Administrative Information

Gift of Lynn Camhi, 2004.

Biography/Organization History

Morrie Camhi was born in New York City in 1928 to Greek Jewish immigrant parents. He attended High School in Los Angeles and studied English literature at UCLA. After college, Camhi -- a self-taught photographer -- established a commercial photography business in Petaluma, where he would live for the remainder of his life. In 1972 he began to teach photography at San Francisco City College. He also taught at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, University of Oregon, Columbia College at Chicago, Sonoma State Univeristy, and Friends of Photography, among other locations. Morrie Camhi died in 1999.
Morrie Camhi’s sister was Rebecca Camhi Fromer (1927-2012), who founded, with her husband Seymour Fromer, the Judah L. Magnes Museum (now the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library).

Scope and Content Note

Collection includes negatives and selected prints from Camhi’s major series of portraiture: Farmworkers, Petaluma, Espejo: Reflections of the Mexican-American, Jews of Greece, AD-Vantage, Roadside Attraction and The Prison Experience. Also includes negatives pertaining to other projects and subjects, as well as miscellaneous photographic prints, correspondence, financial records and other papers.
The collection does not include any material pertaining to two of the photograher’s major projects: Haiku, and Journal.

Note

Some series descriptions include quotations taken from the photographer's website: http://www.stare.net/camhi/

Container Listing

 

Series 1. Farmworkers. 1970-1972

Physical Description: 55 photographic prints and circa 780 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

Portraits and other photographs documenting the everyday lives of Chicano migratory farm workers of California.
“By responding symbolically, I saw we had tended to respond to a visual cliché that robbed a valiant people of their individuality and complexity. We had sensed the sledgehammer logic of their condition, muttered something unassailable about how bad it was, somehow felt relieved to have paid our sociological dues.” (Morrie Camhi)
AX_box 1

Farmworkers: Photographic prints 11 x 14 in. or smaller. BANC PIC 2005.109--AX

Physical Description: 27 photographic prints.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 1

Farmworkers: Restricted exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 14 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints for which smaller versions are available.

Access Information

RESTRICTED. Use smaller format prints in AX box 1.
B_box 2

Farmworkers: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 14 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format versions available.

Access Information

Open for access.
NEG_strip_box 1

Farmworkers: Negatives. BANC PIC 2005.109--NEG(strip)

Physical Description: ca. 780 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

35mm film negatives.

Access Information

RESTRICTED.
 

Series 2. Petaluma. 1975-1976

Physical Description: 38 photographic prints and circa 870 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

Portraits of residents of Petaluma and other subjects pertaining to the vicinity.
AX_box 1

Petaluma: Photographic print 11 x 14 in. or smaller. BANC PIC 2005.109--AX

Physical Description: 1 photographic print.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 3

Petaluma: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 19 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format versions available.
B_box 4

Petaluma: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 18 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format versions available.

Access Information

Open for access.
NEG_strip_box 1

Petaluma: Negatives. BANC PIC 2005.109--NEG(strip)

Physical Description: circa 870 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

35mm film negatives.

Access Information

Restricted.
 

Series 3. Espejo: Reflections of the Mexican-American. 1977

Physical Description: 119 photographic prints and circa 2,275 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

Camhi’s contribution to a comprehensive 2-year survey of Mexican-American people and culture. The project culminated in exhibitions at the Oakland Museum of California and the Center for Contemporary Photography in Chicago. In addition to being one of the six photographers to participate in the survey, Camhi was also the project director.
“I was welcomed into many homes, and the everyday quality of these visits had a special honesty, which I felt was important to share. Each person is the author of his or her environment; what we arrange on our walls is what we decide would be there. The environment functions as a biography and reflects our personal intensities and concerns. It has been my purpose to become part of the photograph, to enter into the equation of response. The images created are the result of our experiences of each other.” (Morrie Camhi)
AX_box 1

Espejo: Photographic prints 11 x 14 in. or smaller. BANC PIC 2005.109--AX

Physical Description: 61 photographic prints.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 5

Espejo: Restricted exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 16 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints for which smaller versions are available.

Access Information

Restricted.
B_box 6

Espejo: Restricted exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 11 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints for which smaller versions are available.

Access Information

Restricted.
B_box 7

Espejo: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 16 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format copies available.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 8

Espejo: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 15 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format copies available.

Access Information

Open for access.
NEG_strip_box 1, NEG_strip_box 2

Espejo: Negatives. BANC PIC 2005.109--NEG(strip)

Physical Description: circa 2,275 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

35mm film negatives.

Access Information

Restricted.
 

Series 4. Jews of Greece. 1980

Physical Description: 101 photographic prints and circa 1,415 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

Portraits of Jewish persons, many of them Holocaust survivors, taken throughout Greece. The culmination of the project was an exhibit at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 1982, and the book Faces and Facets: The Jews of Greece, published in 1995.
AX_box 1

Jews of Greece: Photographic prints 11 x 14 in. or smaller. BANC PIC 2005.109--AX

Physical Description: 60 photographic prints.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 9

Jews of Greece: Restricted exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 24 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints for which smaller versions are available.

Access Information

Restricted.
B_box 10

Jews of Greece: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 17 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format versions available.

Access Information

Open for access.
NEG_strip_box 2

Jews of Greece: Negatives. BANC PIC 2005.109--NEG(strip)

Physical Description: ca. 1,415 negatives

Scope and Content Note

35mm film negatives.

Access Information

Restricted.
 

Series 5. AD-Vantage. 1982

Physical Description: 41 photographic prints and circa 1,325 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

Portraits of singles, most from the San Francisco Bay Area, accompanied by subjects' personal want ad statements.
“The personal want-ad is a kind of complete portrait, often telling of inner concerns as well as appearance. To live alongside their portraits I have created portraits of my own. There are surprises. Stereotypes sometimes shatter. There are confirmations as well as contradictions of the ad’s promise. But most of all, the personal want ad people seem a lot like the rest of us—but doing something about their unique needs or preoccupations.” (Morrie Camhi)
AX_box 1

AD-Vantage: Photographic prints 11 x 14 in. or smaller. BANC PIC 2005.109--AX

Physical Description: 9 photographic prints.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 11

AD-Vantage: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 16 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format versions available.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 12

AD-Vantage: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 16 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format versions available.

Access Information

Open for access.
NEG_strip_box 3

AD-Vantage: Negatives. BANC PIC 2005.109--NEG(strip)

Physical Description: circa 1,325 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

35mm film negatives.

Additional Note

Restricted.
 

Series 6. Roadside Attraction. 1984

Physical Description: 29 photographic prints and circa 1,090 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

Portraits, views and scenes of various subjects, presumably taken along highways of the American west (California, Arizona, Colorado and perhaps other states).
B_box 13

Roadside Attraction: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 29 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints. No smaller-format versions available.

Access Information

Open for access.
NEG_strip_box 3, NEG_strip_box 4

Roadside Attraction: Negatives. BANC PIC 2005.109--NEG(strip)

Physical Description: 1,093 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

35mm film negatives.

Access Information

Restricted.
 

Series 7. The Prison Experience. 1987-1988

Physical Description: 984 photographic prints and circa 2,545 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

Portraits of prisoners, their families and prison staff of the California State Prison at Vacaville. Includes photographer’s subject file folders (arranged numerically), release forms, and subject statements. The project resulted in a traveling exhibition and the book The Prison Experience, published in 1989.
“After an initial research period, there were eighteen months of photography at California’s Vacaville Prison. Alongside the photographs created were written statements, all in answer to the same question: “What do you want people to know about the prison experience?” (Morrie Camhi)

Additional Note

3 subject lists available in library: arranged by subject surname; arranged by photographer's file no.; arranged by page no. in book.
PIC_box 1

Prison Experience: Release forms and accompanying photographic prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--PIC

Physical Description: 147 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

File nos. 1-40.
PIC_box 2

Prison Experience: Release forms and accompanying photographic prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--PIC

Physical Description: 142 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

File nos. 41-90.

Access Information

Open for access.
PIC_box 3

Prison Experience: Release forms and accompanying photographic prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--PIC

Physical Description: 126 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

File nos. 91-135.

Access Information

Open for access.
PIC_box 4

Prison Experience: Release forms and accompanying photographic prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--PIC

Physical Description: 118 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

File nos. 136-179.

Access Information

Open for access.
PIC_box 5

Prison Experience: Release forms and accompanying photographic prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--PIC

Physical Description: 131 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

File nos. 181-215.

Access Information

Open for access.
PIC_box 6

Prison Experience: Release forms and accompanying photographic prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--PIC

Physical Description: 62 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

File nos. 216-221, plus empty file folders and miscellaneous project files.

Access Information

Open for access.
AX_box 2

Prison Experience: Photographic prints 11 x 14 in. BANC PIC 2005.109--AX

Physical Description: 158 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Photographic prints of selected prisoners.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 14

Prison Experience: Restricted exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 34 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints for which smaller versions are available.

Access Information

Restricted.
B_box 15

Prison Experience: Restricted exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 33 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints for which smaller versions are available.

Access Information

Restricted.
B_box 16

Prison Experience: Restricted exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 33 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Oversize exhibition prints for which smaller versions are available.

Access Information

Restricted.
NEG_strip_box 4, NEG_strip_box 5

Prison Experience: 35mm film Negatives. BANC PIC 2005.109--NEG(strip)

Physical Description: circa 2,545 negatives.

Access Information

Restricted.
 

Series 8. Miscellaneous photographs and papers.

Physical Description: 1 box of assorted papers, 16 photographic prints, circa 1,335 negatives.
PIC_box 7

Miscellaneous: Papers. BANC PIC 2005.109--PIC

Physical Description: 4 folders

Scope and Content Note

General correspondence; AD-Vantage project correspondence; workshop registration materials; workshop financial records.

Access Information

Open for access.
AX_box 1

Miscellaneous: Photographic prints 11 x 14 in. or smaller. BANC PIC 2005.109--AX

Physical Description: 7 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Subjects include Morrie Camhi, Christo and Van Deren Coke.

Access Information

Open for access.
B_box 17

Miscellaneous: Exhibition prints. BANC PIC 2005.109--B

Physical Description: 9 photographic prints.

Scope and Content Note

Various subjects, perhaps related to the photographer's major projects. Subjects: Morrie Camhi (self-portraits), Christo, Van Deren Coke, Viola Weinberg, Kalico Kitchen Kafe (Cloverdale, Calif.) and Pelanconis' work hats.

Access Information

Open for access.
NEG_strip_box 5

Miscellaneous: 35mm film negatives. BANC PIC 2005.109--NEG(strip)

Physical Description: circa 1,335 negatives.

Scope and Content Note

Various subjects, including (as described in photographer's annotations): Gay liberation (235 negatives); Ralph O'Neill (165 negatives); Nell Sinton (331 negatives); Tom Carcione, Novato portrait (29 negatives); Ben Asher (515 negatives); miscellaneous/prisons related (60 negatives)

Access Information

Restricted.