The FMoPA Permanent Collection
Since its beginning in 2001, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts has steadily built its permanent collection. Beginning with a group of vintage photographs by Richard Tepe (arranged by Vincent Sorrentino, co-founder) as well as excellent examples of photojournalism by Tampa Bay Times photographers Jamie Francis and James Borchuck, the museum soon gained a ten-work suite of landmark images by the pioneer of strobe light photography and M.I.T. professor, Dr. Harold “Doc” Edgerton. Thanks to co-founder Charles Levin and Gus Kayafus of Palm Press, Edgerton’s famous Milk Drop Coronet and Shooting the Apple are in the collection.
FMoPA has a growing concentration of examples of early panoramic photography, including five views of early Tampa by the Burgert Brothers (gifts of Terry Butchko Hoft). An array of early panoramic views of the building of the Panama Canal, West Point, Miami and other vistas, are among numerous gifts from Robert B. MacKay of Cold Spring Harbor, New York, author of America by the Yard: Cirkut Camera: Images from the Early Twentieth Century.
The museum is grateful to longtime supporters Celia and Jim Ferman for their gift of three classic scenes of Woodstock by Burk Uzzle. Museum trustee William K. Zewadski was instrumental in the acquisition of important works by celebrity photographer Len Prince, by Chinese photographer Shen Wei and by Dianora Niccolini, who is a pioneer in the photographing of the male nude.
David R. Hall, III, a member of FMOPA’s Board of Directors and friend of many artists, facilitated the donation of works by such noted names as Judy Dater (known for her 1974 photograph of Imogen Cunningham and Twinka), Andrea Modica (who has exhibited her work in museums internationally), Robert Hartman (who takes infrared aerial photographs of the California countryside) and Ruth Bernhard, who was once saluted by Ansel Adams as being “the greatest photographer of the nude.”
Elizabeth Bolint donated a key work by noted Depression-Era artist Dorothea Lange, Kern County, and the museum also holds a portrait of Lange by Rondal Partridge (son of Imogen Cunningham). The very top ranks of Florida photography (and/or Florida-born photographers) are represented by four large, excellent works from Clyde Butcher (two of which were dontated by Charles Levin and Cynthia Flowers, co-founders) and a haunting landscape donated by the artist Benjamin Dimmitt. Herb Snitzer, who is famous for his portraits of jazz musicians and who lives in St. Petersburg, as arranged by Cynthia Flowers, donated the portrait of Bette Davis to the museum’s permanent collection.
Also in the collection are three engaging views of Pittsburgh’s African-American community in the 1930s and 1940s by Charles “Teenie” Harris (also known as “One Shot” Harris). One image was a gift of the Harris family arranged by Cynthia Flowers and the other two were donated by Charles Levin and Cynthia Flowers.
The museum holds two dreamlike photo montages by San Francisco-based Hugh Shurley. In addition, courtesy of New York’s Marlborough Gallery and the artist, the museum has two dramatic portraits of members of the Surma and Mursi tribes of Ethiopia by German-born Hans Silvester.
The most recent acquisitions include a gift of more than 40 works from Bud Lee and his family. Lee, at one time a key member of Tampa’s arts community and currently a resident of Plant City, Florida, has had a colorful and noted career photographing for Esquire and Rolling Stone, among other publications.
Joanne Milani, Board of Trustees and former Executive Director and Curator