Morrie Camhi Biography

Morrie Camhi




Photographer Morrie Camhi was born June 11, 1928, in New York City, and grew up in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Literature in 1955, while also performing a stint in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1953-1955 as a photographer. It was this experience, as well as his work as a photography lab technician - a job he took to support himself through school - that inspired his career trajectory. He found work almost immediately as a commercial photographer and manager for Donn-Mauer Photography after graduation.

From 1960 to 1969 he operated his own commercial businesses until deciding to teach. He sold his studio and took a position as a photography teacher at City College of San Francisco in 1972, where he would remain on staff for the entirety of his career. In his spare time he traveled throughout the world with his wife, Lynn, photographing people he met as he went.

Camhi’s referred to his work as “environmental portrait photography”, social documentation primarily focused on the daily lives of everyday people and social issues such as undocumented agricultural laborers (Espejo: Reflections of the Mexican American, 1976) and inmates, their families, and the guards of the Vacaville, CA prison system (The Prison Experience, 1989). Perhaps his most noted publication was the book Faces and Facets: The Jews of Greece (1995), which documented the few Greek survivors who escaped the Holocaust, as well as thriving younger generations of Jews, hoping to broaden the depiction of Jewish life as more than just the product of survival. "There's a continuing preoccupation with Holocaust issues among Jews," he said when his exhibit "The Jews of Greece" opened in Petaluma in 1995. "I've attempted to make this broader."



His work in included in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and at museums and galleries in Chicago and New York, as well as Europe, Japan and New Zealand.

Camhi’s work has been exhibited at the Oakland Museum, CA; St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Center for Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA; Baldwin Photographic Gallery, Middle Tennessee State University; among others.