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  • Exhibit

Laurence Salzmann: A Life with Others

Curated by Jason Francisco, a visual artist tenured in the Film and Media Department at Emory University, Laurence Salzmann: A Life with Others is the first comprehensive survey of the work of Laurence Salzmann (American, born 1944), whose collection was donated to the Penn Libraries in 2018

This event has already occurred

August 28 - December 4, 2023
Goldstein Family Gallery, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, sixth floor
Open to the Public
Two men wearing hats pass each other on a city street surrounded by graffiti-laden walls. Black and white photograph.Legible graffiti reads "the new

The exhibition explores the major themes of the artist's remarkable and ongoing 50-year career, the geographic scope of his practice in photography and film, and his passion for preserving a sense of humanity and dignity through his photographs. A lifelong resident of Philadelphia, Salzmann is one of the city’s most renowned living photographers. His work has taken him to communities in more than a dozen countries around the globe, his subjects ranging from rural Mexico to urban Turkey, the mountains of Transylvania to the highlands of Peru, New York City to Jerusalem, Cairo to Havana.  

Trained in visual anthropology, Salzmann is distinct in his conception of art as research, and research as a point of artistic departure. His photographs and films push us to measure our ethical consciousness and to meet his subjects on their own terms, with critical awareness and compassion. They push us to defend those who are vulnerable to ignorance and stereotype, and to transcend cultural and psychological barriers in the protection of human dignity. 


Plan Your Visit

On view August 28 to December 4, 2023. This exhibition is free and open to the public and located in the Goldstein Gallery on the 6th floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend visits may be arranged by prior appointment: please contact Lynne Farrington, Kislak Center, via email or phone (215-746-5828). 

Penn faculty, staff, and students must swipe their PennCard for access. Visitors from outside the Penn community must present a a current, valid government or school-issued photo I.D. that contains an expiration date. Find more information to plan your visit

Featured image: Photograph by Laurence Salzmann. 8th and Market Streets, from City / 2, Philadelphia, 1971.

Black and white photograph of Leslie Field, Stephen Field, Ethel Pugh with their son Harry.


Meet the photographer, hear perspectives from artists and scholars, and enjoy a celebratory reception at a full-day symposium on October 10.

Black and white photograph of a man holding a tripod-mounted camera on a city street. Text reads "Laurence Salzmann"


Available through Oak Knoll Press, the book includes more than 230 of Salzmann's photographs from across his career.

Laurence Salzmann self portrait from Sweet Salt People, 2016–2020.

In the Media

“I think my legacy has been to both remember the past, be in the present, and preserve stories and ways of life,” Salzmann reflects in a feature story in The Pennsylvania Gazette.