Ben Blackwell has been taking photographs for over 50 years and his work is in the collections of the Yale Museum of Art, Spencer Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the International Center for Photography.

From 1979 to 2011, he was the Principal Photographer at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive and the contract photographer for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Today, Ben is focusing on his continuing studio practice, while his commercial practice specializes on unique projects, with private clients, major museums, galleries, and publishers, nationally and internationally.

Ben Blackwell holds a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley.




MA Art Practice, University of California, Berkeley, 1968
BA Art Practice, University of Texas, Austin, 1967


Private Practice 1972 - current
Owner, Benjamin Blackwell Photography
Specializing in large format film and digital art reproduction
Formats: 4X5 and 8X10 film, 4X5 digital scanning camera

Principal Photographer 1979 - 2011
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
Responsible for digital and film imaging of a broad range of museum objects and subjects including artwork of all media and periods, architecture, performance and multimedia installations.


Latvian National Library
University of California Merced Library
Stanford University Media Preservation Library
Hewlett Packard (HP Labs, Palo Alto)
Carnegie Art Museum
School of Library & Information Sciences, University of North Texas


"Polarized Light", Better Light User's Conference, 2003
“Digital Scan Back Photography", Museum Computer Network Conference, 2002
“Conservation Issues and Applications of Digital Photography.", Carnegie Melon Conservation Workshop, 2002
"Digital Photography in Museums", Western Association of Art Conservators, 2001
"Fine Art Reproduction", Better Light User's Conference, 2001


Digital Imaging Workshop, School for Information Studies, Syracuse University, 2003
Visiting Lecturer in Photography, California State University at Hayward, 1976
Visiting Lecturer, Painting Drawing and Design, University of Kansas, 1972-1973
Associate Instructor in Drawing, University of California, Berkeley, 1969


Light Exposure to Sensitive Artworks Update, WAAC Journal, Summer 2002
Ultraviolet and Heat Effects from Photographic Lights, Spectra, 2002
Light Exposure to Sensitive Artworks During Digital Capture, Spectra, Fall 2000


Undersoul Jay DeFeo, San Jose Museum of Art, 2019
Dinh Q Lê: True Journey is Return, San Jose Museum of Art, 2019
Object Lessons:: Jay DeFeo Works On Paper from the 1970s, Galerie Frank Elbaz, 2018
Jay DeFeo: The Ripple Effect, Les Presses du Réel, 2018
Object Lessons: Jay DeFeo Works on Paper from the 1970s, Galerie Frank Elbaz, 2018
Walker Evans, Centre Pompidou, 2017
Nam June Paik: The Late Style, Gagosian, 2015
Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot, Asia Society, 2014
Jay DeFeo, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 2014
The Errand of the Eye Photographs By Rose Mandel, Fine Arts Museums of SF, 2013
Jay DeFeo Chiaroscuro, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, 2013
An Opening of The Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle, Pomegranate, 2013
Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective, Whitney Museum, 2012
Six Lines of Flight, SFMOMA, 2012
Hung Liu: Great Granary, Xin Beijing Art Gallery, 2010
Exposed:Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera since 1870, SFMOMA/Yale, 2010
New Works/Old Story:  80 Artists at the Passover Table, Contemporary Jewish Museum, 2009
Dean Smith, Thought Forms 2003-2009, Gallery Paule Anglim, 2009
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: 75 Years of Looking Forward, SFMOMA, 2009
Jay DeFeo: Where the Swan Flies, Moody Gallery, 2008
Hung Liu: Now and Then, University of Oklahoma, 2008
Half-Life of a Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Logan Collection, UC Press/SFMOMA, 2008
Brought to Light: Photography and the Invisible, 1840-1900, SFMOMA/Yale University Press, 2008
A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s, UC Press, 2007
Measure of Time, BAMPFA, 2007
Daughters of China, Hung Liu, Magnolia Editions, 2007
Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China, Charta Art Books, 2007
Living Archive 7: Ant Farm, Actar, 2007
The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson, The Jewish Museum/Yale University Press, 2007
Jess: To and From the Printed Page, Independent Curators International, 2007
Origin: Specimens, Donald Farnsworth, Fresno Art Museum, 2007
Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson, SFMOMA/Thames and Hudson, 2007
Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images, LACMA, 2006
Jay DeFeo: No End/ Botanicals, Dwight Hackett Projects, 2006
Tauba Auerbach, How to Spell the Alphabet, Deitch Projects, New York, 2006
Robert Bechtle, A Retrospective, SFMOMA, 2005
The Art of Richard Tuttle, SFMOMA, 2005
Plane Image: A Brice Marden Retrospective, MOMA, 2005
Lee Mullican, An Abundant Harvest of Sun, LACMA, 2005
Taking Place: Photographs from the Prentice and Paul Sack Collection, SFMOMA, 2005
Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha, Whitney Museum of Art, 2004
German Expressionist Graphics, Portland Museum of Art, 2004
Shomei Tomatsu, Skin of the Nation, SFMOMA, 2004
Jay DeFeo and the Rose, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2003
The Art of David Ireland: The Way Things Are, Oakland Museum of California/ UC Press, 2003
Andy Warhol Catalog Raisonne, Phaidon, 2002
City by the Bay: San Francisco in Art and Literature, SFMOMA, 2002
The Logan Collection, a Portrait of our Times, Vicki and Kent Logan, 2002
Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession, Merrell for Cantor Foundations, 2001
Hung Liu, Strange Fruit, Rena Bransten Gallery, 2001
Prayers Before Dying, Alan Counihan, Cabrillo College, Aptos/Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, 2001
John Zurier, Gallery Paule Anglim, 2000
Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity 1900-2000, LACMA, 2000
Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog, SFMOMA, 1999
Georgia O’Keefe: Catalog Raisonne, National Gallery, 1999
Searchlight: Consciousness at the Millennium, Thames & Hudson, 1999
The Art of Joan Brown, UC Press, 1998
Mish Kohn: Beyond the Tradition, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, 1998
Hung Liu, Chinese Types, Rena Bransten Gallery, 1998
A.G. Rizolli, Architect of Magnificant Visions, Abrams, 1997
David Ireland, Institute of Contemporary Art, 1997
Designed for Delight, Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, 1997
Hogarth and his Times, UC Press, 1997
Robert Arneson, Self Reflections, SFMOMA, 1997
Paul Klee, The Djerassi Collection, SFMOMA, 1997
Manuel Neri: Early Works, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1996
Deborah Butterfield, San Diego Museum of Art, 1996
Ruth Bernhard: Gift of the Commonplace, Woodrose Publishing, 1996
The Making of a Modern Museum, SFMOMA, 1994
Deborah Orapallo, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 1993
Matisse and the Modern Masters, SFMOMA, 1993
Robert Duncan, Drawings and Decorated Books, Rose Books, 1992
On Painting: The Work of Elmer Bischoff and Joan Brown, UC Press, 1992
James Weeks, Wiegand Gallery, 1992
Helen Levitt, SFMOMA, 1991
Martin Kippenberger: Ten Years After, Taschen, 1991
Toward a New Museum, SFMOMA, 1991
Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, UCLA, 1991
Alan Shepp, The Language of Stone, Monterey Peninsula Museum, 1991
Florence Henri,  Artist-Photographer of the Avant-Garde, SFMOMA, 1990
Visionary San Francisco, SFMOMA, 1990
Sigmar Polke, SFMOMA, 1990
Frieda Kahlo, The Brush of Anguish, Chronicle Books, 1990
Isamu Noguchi Portrait Sculpture, Smithsonian, 1989
Patterns and Process, Paul Klee, SFMOMA, 1987
Hans Hoffman, Abbeville Press, 1986
Photography, A Facet of Modernism, SFMOMA, 1986
Paul Klee, Figurative Graphics, SFMOMA, 1986
Rupert Garcia, Harcourt’s Gallery, 1986
Robert Hudson, A Survey, SFMOMA, 1986
Lawrence Halprin: Changing Places, SFMOMA, 1986
The Painting and Sculpture Collection, SFMOMA, 1985
Arnaldo Pomodoro, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 1985
Extending the Perimeters…20th Century Photography, SFMOMA, 1985
Wayne Thiebaud, SFMOMA/University of Washington Press, 1985
Signs of the Times, SFMOMA, 1985
Jess, A Grand Collage, Albright Knox Museum, 1984
Portraits of Artists/Faces Photographed, SFMOMA, 1984
Russell Chatham, Winn Press, 1984
William Morris, UC Press, 1984
Weegee, SFMOMA, 1984
Jess: Paste-Ups and Assemblies, Ringling Museum, 1983
Joan Jonas, Scripts and Descriptions, UC Press, 1983
Val Talburg, SFMOMA, 1983
Alan Shepp, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 1981
Antoni Tapies, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 1981
Arnaldo Pomodoro, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 1981