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

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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.