Guide to the Al Lowry Santa Cruz Photos Collection (1960s to 1990s)

Overview +


Collection Number



This collection was likely created by the donor and artist of the collection, Alexander “Al” Lowry. The photos were donated on October 6,1998 by Santa Cruz photographer Alexander Lowry to the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.


Number of Containers: One (1) Box
Linear Feet: One (1) Linear Foot


Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Archives
705 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


This collection consists of one hundred-fifteen approximately 8”Height X 10” length black and white photos taken by Santa Cruz photographer Allexander “Al” Lowry in the early 1960’s to 1990’s. The photos are in excellent condition, contained in clear plastic covers. The photos are of scenes throughout Santa Cruz County, and of various activities such as surfing, fishing, attending courses at UCSC and/or Cabrillo College in Aptos, swimming, and farming among others, being engaged in by individuals. Also in the collection are portraits of individuals such as Artist Al Palm (also known as Olaf Palm) [1998.16.11] taken in 1969 in Capitola, CA and Chuck Abbott (1971) [1998.16.16] and Ernie Locatelli [1998.16.30]. Scenes include the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, various beaches, Hallcrest Vineyard in Felton, The Santa Cruz County Fair at Watsonville Fairgrounds and many more.


The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Preferred Citation

The Al Lowry Santa Cruz Photos Collection, The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the head of Archives at MAH. Researchers may be responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use material not produced by museum personnel.

Process By

Renata McRee

Date Completed


History +

Alexander “Al” Lowry, (1937-2010) a former photographer for the San Jose mercury News found inspiration in Santa Cruz County where he took up residence. Born in San Jose, CA, Lowry later attended Willow Glen High School in 1955 and later served two year in France in the United States Army( Lowry’s work as a photographer began in 1957 in Paris ( For seven (7) years in the early 1960’s and mid-1970’s Lowry free lanced as wildlife and nature photographer with his photos appearing in various national magazines such as Life, Sunset, Look, and World Report. In 1972, Lowry had ten (10) photos of wildlife along with a story entitled “American Heritage” shown in the U.S. Camera/Camera 355 Annual, America Photographic Statements. Lowry spent many hours watching and photographing animals in their natural habitat as he disliked photographing them in captivity, the result were photographs that were the product of many hours of work and photographic techniques combined (S.C. Sentinel 12/24/1972). Lowry also showed at the Crown College Library at UC Santa Cruz in 1974 for an exhibit entitled “The California Scene” that was sponsored by the non-profit organization the Sempervirens Fund (S.C. Sentinel 2/8/1974). Lowry also published his photos in books such as Big Basin, Castle Rock and Critters. In the 1980’s Lowry took his photographic skills to Ireland where he took photographs of castle ruins which were then turned into limited edition prints sold and exhibited at a shoe at the Art About Gallery in Capitola, CA in 1981. Lowry’s photos were also included in books of animals and flowers assembled by the Audubon Society (S.C. Sentinel 2/22/1981). In 1980, Alexander Lowry’s photos were featured along with Ansel Adams and other photographers work in a cookbook entitled A Taste of Santa Cruz compiled by UC Santa Cruz student Kathleen Howard and published by the Environmental Council, which focused on the availability of local food and recipes from local restaurants (S.C. Sentinel 3/12/1980). In 1986, Lowry exhibited thirty framed prints of wildlife and nature photos in an exhibit called “Wildness at the Middle Coast” at the Santa Cruz City Museum. The photographs encompassed twenty (20) years of Lowry’s time in the Monterey bay and Santa Cruz areas taking photographs (S.C. Sentinel 4/4/1986).

More can be read about Lowry on the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) and UC Santa Cruz online Alexander Lowry exhibit at which appears to include some of the photos in this collection. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History has one hundred-fifteen 8”x10” black and white photos taken by Al Lowry in the 1960’s-1990’s in Santa Cruz and other counties in the Al Lowry Santa Cruz County Collection.

Contents +


One (1) Box

Series Scope and Content Summary:

This series consists of one-hundred fifteen (115) black and white 8”x10” photos taken by photographer Alexander “Al” Lowry in the early 1960’s through the mid-1990’s. The photos are in excellent condition and are of scenes in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola and Felton to name a few areas. The photos are of various individuals engaging in activities often out in nature, such as farming, swimming, playing games, sports and more. There are also a few photos (approx. 5 or more) of the U.C. Santa Cruz campus, two (2) are aerial views taken in 1984 [1998.16.46-6]. Also in the series are some nice photos of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk taken of rides close-up (approx. 5 of more photos). The rides include the Giant Dipper in 1973 [1998.16.24], The Jet Star Ride in 1973 [1998.16.25] and the Video Storm Ride 1973 [1998.16.29], which are a fascinating record of the Boardwalk’s changing rides. There are also approx. thirteen (13) or more portraits of individuals with identifying captions on the reverse in this series. Some examples of individuals in the portraits include: Chuck Abbott (approx. 2 photos 1998.16.15-16], Artist Al Palm taken in the late 1960’s, (approx. 4 photos 1998.16.13, 1998.16.11, 1998.16.5 and one or two others), Steve Emery at the Santa Cruz Art Center 1977 [1998.16.33], Philip Zembe at the Santa Cruz Art Center in 1977[199.16.34] and two touching photos of a researcher (unidentified) bonding with a Long Marine Lab sealion [1998.16.51-2] and others. There are also photos of various beaches such as Seacliff [1998.16.17] , Main Beach [1998.16.20] and Natural Bridges [1998.16.23 and others]. There are an estimated twenty (20) photos of Santa Cruz beaches, swimming, surfing, and other water-related activities. This series also attests to the county’s rich agricultural history and bounty, as there are approx. fifteen (more or less) photos of farms in Felton, Watsonville, and Davenport, scenes of stores, beekeeping, farming, and close-ups of vegetables and other food at markets. Also in the series are some interesting shots of architectural details of the U.S. Post on Front Street in Santa Cruz, CA, a Victorian house on Mission Street, the Heiner House (2 photos), the Boardwalk, and the Civic Auditorium (2 approx.). In total, there are approx. seven (7) or more close-up shots or architectural details. All the photos appear to have either typed labels or handwritten captions on the reverse, identifying the scene and/ or individual in the photo.


Box 1