Eliot Porter (1901–1990) introduced color to landscape photography. In so doing, he created a new way of viewing the world that today has become commonplace. An artist with strong scientific and environmental interests, Porter took up color in 1939, long before his fellow photographers accepted the medium, to produce more accurate photographs of birds. Soon thereafter, he expanded his focus to celebrate the colorful beauty of nature in general. Over a fifty-year career that includes works from Maine to China, he built a broad popular reputation based on thousands of richly hued prints and twenty-five books. His work energized environmentalists, drew accolades from museums, and created the foundations for today’s color nature photography.

In 1990 Eliot Porter bequeathed his professional archives to the Amon Carter Museum. The core of this generous gift consists of approximately 7,500 original dye transfer, color photographic prints and 1,800 gelatin silver, black-and-white photographic prints covering the breadth of his career. Supplementing these prints are the artist’s 84,000 original color transparencies and slides; 4,400 black-and-white negatives; the photographic components he created in the process of making his dye transfer prints; and approximately 2,600 work prints. The collection also holds copies of the artist’s books, portfolios, and albums; approximately forty linear feet of business papers and correspondence; his 1,100-volume professional library; a small assortment of family photographs; photographs given to the artist by friends and associates; some of his dye transfer printing equipment; and his work table. This collection guide lists and describes these various components, while offering an extensive sampling of the artist’s photographs.


See Porter's photographs from Antarctica to Africa and learn about Porter's different types of printing methods.

Plunge pool, Cathedral in the Desert, Clear Creek off the Escalante River, Glen Canyon, Utah, August 23, 1964

Yuantong Monastery, Kunming, Yunnan, China, Fall 1981

Pinyon Jay, Tesuque, New Mexico, March 1961