UH Moment

Famed Houston Photographer Donates Work to UH Special Collections

“It is an interesting slice of Houston arts, culture, and politics from that period of the 20th century.”

World-renowned Houston photographer Janice Rubin was preparing a sizeable part of her collection to be donated to the University of Houston when Hurricane Harvey hit.

“Anything in bottom drawers, or bottom shelves was destroyed,” Rubin said.

Fortunately a large portion of Rubin’s collection survived the storm. Still displaced from Harvey, Rubin recently donated 15,000 pieces to the UH Libraries Special Collections.  Her work showcases Houston life, art, politics and business from the late 20th century.

 

“So much of my work is about Houston history. It is about what Houston was in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s,” Rubin said.  “It is an interesting slice of Houston arts, culture and politics from that period of the 20th century.”

Grants from the Harvey Arts Recovery Fund allowed Rubin to hire UH photography major Micaela Cadungog to help scan, document and catalog the images that have graced the pages of Rolling Stone, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated.

“Seeing Houston at this time when I wasn’t alive makes it seem so different,” said Cadungog, who also works as a library assistant. “It is really inspiring to see the amount of work and the volume of it.”

Rubin says it might have taken her a decade to finish donating the entire collection, but Harvey motivated her to work faster to preserve what survived.

“It is a sense of legacy, a sense of seeing my work live on and be utilized by others in a meaningful way,” Rubin said.

“The Janice Rubin Photographs” are available for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library on the UH campus.

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