Amon Carter Museum Launches Online Collection Guides on Two Major Photographers

Release date: 
February 6, 2003

FORT WORTH, Texas --- Through the Amon Carter Museum's Web site, students and teachers anywhere in the world can now explore the lives and works of two of this country's important photographers. The work of Eliot Porter (1901--1990), who pioneered color nature photography, and Erwin Smith (1886--1947), who documented the lives of cowboys and ranches in the Southwest, comprise important holdings in the Carter's renowned collection of American art. Now, each of these photographers has a multilayered Web site devoted to their careers, accessible from the Amon Carter Museum's homepage at The sites offer an extensive range of images from the Carter's Porter and Smith collections, and they also provide fun and interesting learning tools for students as well as a guide to help educators instruct their pupils.

For the exhibition Eliot Porter: The Color of Wildness, the Carter has created two online projects: an Eliot Porter Collection Guide, at, and an Eliot Porter student Web site, at

The collection guide offers more than 800 digitized images of Porter's photographs, all of which can be searched by geographical location or by chronology. This guide is accompanied by finding aids to important archival holdings from the Carter's Eliot Porter Archives, which the photographer bequeathed to the museum in 1990.

The online student Web site is designed for both students and teachers (grades four through eight) and introduces them to Porter and his work. This guide offers an activity log that encourages students to look carefully at Porter's work and at their own environment and communities as inspiration for creating works of art.

A computer kiosk is also available in the Carter's special exhibitions galleries during the exhibition (through March 23). This kiosk allows visitors to see a dye transfer print being made, the chance to experiment with photographic color mixing, and the ability to see many more images that the artist created in diverse places around the world.

These educational components for the Carter's Porter collection were developed with technical support from the University of North Texas College of Education, Computer Cognition and Technology Department, and the University of Texas at Arlington's Department of Communication.

Erwin E. Smith traveled during the summers of 1905 through 1912 to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, where he worked as a cowhand and photographer. The Erwin Smith Collection Guide, at, has been developed with the assistance of the Erwin E. Smith Foundation. Initially, a selection of 775 of Smith's images from the Carter's collection is available for online viewing. Organized by subject, this database of images offers an exciting introduction to cowboy life in the Southwest at the beginning of the last century.

The Collection Guide is accompanied by a teaching guide, at, that gives teachers historical and biographical background on Smith's work and cowboy culture in general. Correlated to state guidelines for the TEKS social studies standards, as well as fourth- and seventh-grade Texas history, the guide also provides suggested classroom activities and lesson plans.

The Erwin Smith Online Project at the Carter is being launched in phases. The completed site will ultimately offer a database of more than 2,500 digital images from the Carter's collection, 600 from the collection of Smith's images at the Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas, and a children's page.

The Star-Telegram is the official print sponsor of the Amon Carter Museum.