Photography Department

The Photography Department serves as an important service to The Field Museum's exhibits and research, and increases the accessibility of the artifacts and specimens. The Photography Department provides a wide range of photographic services for Field Museum staff. Images captured by Field Museum photographers are deposited and cataloged in the Photo Archives, ensuring permanent access to researchers, historians, publishers and community scientists worldwide. From glass plate negatives to digital files the photography department has been a key part to The Field Museum for over 100 years. Since The Field Museum opened in 1894, there has been a photography department and staff photographers.  There have been roughly 20 photographers on staff in that time and only 4 head photographers.

  • Charles Carpenter was the first official Head Photographer. He started in 1899 and retired in 1947. Through out his career, he traveled on 2 major expeditions. Carpenter traveled to Arizona to photograph Hopi objects, and he traveled to the St. Louis World’s Fair, The Louisiana Purchase Exposition. He also photographed the transition of the museum from the old building in Jackson Park that was part of the World’s Columbian Exposition to its current building.
  • John Bayalis, Carpenter’s assistant, took over as Head Photographer in 1949.
  • In 1975 Bayalis retired and Ron Testa stepped in as Head Photographer. Besides photographing many objects and events Ron did go on two assignments to Egypt and Bloivia. He retired in 1989.
  • The present Head Photographer, John Weinstein, took his place. John has been in the field, once to Kenya and also to Wyoming. John has also been responsible for bringing the photography department into the digital age.

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