Alumnus Robert Dawson receives Guggenheim award for photography

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Robert Dawson
UC Santa Cruz alumnus Robert Dawson

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Robert Dawson has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts for photography.

Dawson is one of three alumni whose work is currently on display at Three Lives In Photography—a new exhibition that opened last week at UCSC’s Sesnon Gallery, running through May 10.

Dawson’s photographs have been widely exhibited and are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian Institution), Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco; and the Library of Congress.

He graduated from UCSC in 1972, and has taught photography at San Jose State University since 1986, as well as at Stanford since 1996.

Since 1994, Dawson has traveled throughout the United States taking photographs for the American Library Project, which examines the vital role of the public library in American culture. His work on this project will be published later this year in a book titled Public Library: A Photographic Essay, which will include 13 essays with a forward by Bill Moyers and an afterword by Ann Patchett.

His first book, Robert Dawson Photographs, was published by Min Gallery in Japan in 1988. In 1993, the University of California Press published The Great Central Valley: California’s Heartland, by Dawson, Steve Johnson and Gerald Haslam, which was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times.

Other books by Dawson include Farewell, Promised Land: Waking from the California Dream (UC Press, 1999), which was published in conjunction with a major exhibit at the Oakland Museum; and A Doubtful River (University of Nevada Press, 2000)

Dawson also served as photographer-in-residence for the city of San Jose’s wastewater treatment plant in 2010, producing a series of exhibits, plus a permanent installation titled "The Conscience of the City: Treating Wastewater in Silicon Valley."