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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Neal White

Active:  US
Neal White began his career in photographic art as an offshoot of film-making. He earned both the BA (Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and MFA in cinematography, film aesthetics and film direction at the celebrated UCLA film department. Beginning as a mere adjunct to his training as a cinematographer, he studied still photography while a graduate student in film (and supporting himself as a correspondent for the New Republic Magazine and a syndicated, award-winning editorial cartoonist (e.g., Columbia Press Association Prize for Editorial Cartoons, 1965). Although his cryptic (and always controversial) films received critical acclaim and numerous international film festival awards (e.g., from the Cannes Film Festival and Monterey Film Festival), he focused increasingly on still photography after his 1970 appointment (at the age of 22) to the full time tenured faculty of the Photography Area of the Department of Art in San Francisco State University. There he joined fellow Professors Jack Welpott and Don Worth, in a prestigious, pioneering pure photographic art studio program during what is widely considered a golden age of fine arts photography and its now unquestioned place in university education. Prof. White taught at San Francisco State University until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1995. Neal White's photographs are represented in the permanent collections of many fine arts museums in America and Europe (including the Museum of Modern Art, International Museum of Photography, Smithsonian Institution, Whitney Museum, St. Louis Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Art, Norton Simon Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Musée Francais de la Photographie, Bibliotheque National de Paris, Musée Réattu d'Arles and the Royal Photographic Society) and have been exhibited extensively since the 1970s (including several large touring exhibitions in the Centres Culturelles in Europe, sponsored by the US Department of State, as well as in art museums. Neal White was honored with the Medal of the Arles Festival (France) (other recipients being Brassai, J.H. Lartigue, Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Jack Welpott and Judy Dater) Although a dedicated teacher, he retired due to delicate health after 25 years at San Francisco State University, which had curtailed the production of prints of his prolific output as a photographic artist. However, when Prof. White retired (as the youngest Emeritus Professor in the history of his university) and relocated to Vermont, he began the long overdue retrospective printing from over two hundred thousand of his negatives.

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Jacques-Henri Lartigue
Portrait of Neal White at work (Paris) 
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