Peter Goin Papers

Identifier: 2015-33

Scope and Contents

The Peter Goin Papers primarily relates to Goin’s professional art career, although selected materials relate to his professional teaching career; his personal and family life is represented tangentially. His unpublished projects are represented by exhibition-related materials, captions, and marketing and promotional materials. Projects that resulted in a publication often contain larger groupings of materials, including manuscripts (notes and drafts), marketing and promotional, publication, research, and publication prints.

Notable thematic and topical elements include the impact of humankind on the natural environment; water scarcity and use in the American West (particularly in the context of the Water in the West, A Doubtful River, and Santa Clara River projects); the history of mining and the reclamation of mining landscapes in the United States (Changing Mines in America); nuclear testing in the United States and the Marshall Islands (Nuclear Landscapes); the American fascination with and concern over nuclear and atomic issues (Nuclear Landscapes, Atomic Pop, Protest Theater, Video Half-Life, and Nuclear Monsters); and indigenous rock art (Nevada Rock Art). Geographic locations given particular focus include the Black Rock Desert (Scenes from the Black Rock Desert, Black Rock, Dooby Lane, and In Search of Ritual: Burning Man); San Francisco (San Francisco Urban Survey); Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, and Mesa Verde, Colorado (Time and Time Again); the Mexican-American border (Tracing the Line); Reno, Nevada (Structures of Everyday Life, Basque Sheepherder Memorial, Stille Commission, and Reno Transportation Commission) and Las Vegas, Nevada (Discordant Infrastructures and Atlas of the New West).

Series 1: Subject Files and Correspondence, consists of materials, primarily correspondence, related to Goin’s professional art and teaching careers. The bulk of the materials are found within the Exhibit Venues series, and relate to Goin’s relationships with art galleries and museums. Series 2: Photographic Projects, consists of materials regarding Goin’s fine art and documentary photography; the bulk of the materials relate to publication projects. Series 3: Video Projects, consists of materials regarding Goin’s videography projects, primarily documentaries created for public television (most notably In Search of Ritual: Burning Man) and experimental film projects intended for fine art exhibition. The bulk of the manuscript materials are funding applications and press coverage. Series 4: Announcements Binders, consists of event announcements and other ephemera compiled by Goin arranged chronologically in binders that document his career.


  • 1921-2015
  • Majority of material found within 1984 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

Peter Jackson Goin is an American photographer, videographer, writer, and professor. Though primarily known as a landscape photographer, Goin has worked with a variety of media and subjects, including portrait photography, photograms, and documentary videography. His work, widely exhibited throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe, is held in more than 50 museums and private collections. Notable publications include: Time and Time Again: History, Rephotography, and Preservation in the Chaco World (2013, co-authored with Lucy Lippard); A Field Guide to California Agriculture (2010, co-authored with Paul F. Starrs); Nevada Rock Art (2009); Black Rock (2005, co-authored with Paul F. Starrs); Changing Mines in America (2004, co-authored with Elizabeth Raymond); A Doubtful River (2000, co-authored with Mary Webb and Robert Dawson); Humanature (1996); Stopping Time: A Rephotographic Survey of Lake Tahoe (1992); Arid Waters: Photographs from the Water in the West Project (1992); Nuclear Landscapes (1991); and Tracing the Line: A Photographic Survey of the Mexican-American Border (1987).

Born November 26, 1951 in Madison, Wisconsin to Evelyn W. and Lauren J. Goin, Peter Goin spent much of his childhood abroad, particularly in Indonesia. Goin received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Paul, Minnesota’s Hamline University in 1973. He went on to study photography at the University of Iowa, where he received his Master of Art in Photography in 1975 and his Master of Fine Arts in Photography in 1976. He later moved to San Francisco, where he conducted a photographic survey of the Mission District and surrounding areas, among other photographic projects. Goin married fiber artist Chelsea Miller Goin, who died in 1996, with whom he had two daughters, Kari and Dana.

Goin has been a Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) since 1984, and is currently Foundation Professor of Art. During his time at UNR, he has been responsible for a redesign of the photography program curriculum and for initiating and implementing the curriculum for the videography program. Courses he has taught have included: Beginning Photography; Intermediate Photography; Color Photography; Advanced Photography I and II; Problems in Photography; and History of Photography, as well as a variety of workshops. He has served on several University committees, including the Regents Award Committee, the Teaching Excellence Committee, and the Technology Review Board, and has served as Chair of the Art Department from 2012-2015.

Active in the Reno arts community, Goin has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Nevada Museum of Art, the Sierra Arts Foundation, and SNCAT, a public access television station. Goin was instrumental in the establishment of the Altered Landscapes collection at the Nevada Museum of Art, and he has also served on the Museum’s Collections Committee.


20.042 Linear Feet (23 boxes)

Language of Materials



Peter Goin is a professional photographer and Foundation Professor of Art at the University of Nevada, Reno. Collection include correspondence, exhibit catalogs, book manuscript drafts, photographs, maps, promotional materials, research notes, and other records related to Goin’s photography career, publications, and research projects.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Subject Files and Correspondence; 2) Photographic Projects; 3) Video Projects; 4) Announcements Binders

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Peter Goin November 2015. Additional material received in July 2019.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections Department photo archives as collection UNRS-P2015-14.



Guide to the Peter Goin Papers
Katrina Windon
June 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)