​David Plowden 2007, photo copyright © 2007 by Russell Phillips Photography

“David Plowden’s work is sometimes compared to that of the great WPA photographers—Walker Evans, Bernice Abbot, Russell Lee, Dorothea Lange—but he’s been in the field decades longer than any of them were. What he has done is nothing less than capture a whole nation passing through fifty years of changes as momentous as those unleashed by the Industrial Revolution.”

—Richard Snow (from the forward of Vanishing Point)


​For more than fifty years, photographer David Plowden has documented a vanishing America and continues to produce new exhibitions, books and other publications. Of his work Plowden says. “I have been beset, with a sense of urgency to record those parts of our heritage which seem to be receding as quickly as the view from the rear of a speeding train. I fear that we are eradicating the evidence of our past accomplishments so quickly that in time we may well lose the sense of who we are.”


David Plowden ​was born on October 9, 1932. He attended The Putney School in Vermont and graduated from Yale University in 1955. After working briefly for the Great Northern Railway, he began to pursue his career in photography.


From 1959 through1960 Plowden studied under Minor White and Nathan Lyons, and was an assistant to O. Winston Link (1958-1959) and George Meluso (1960-1963). He has held various teaching positions at Illinois Institute of Technology – Institute of Design, University of Iowa – School of Journalism, University of Baltimore, and Grand Valley State University. Plowden was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968, and a Research Grant from the Smithsonian Institute in 1970, to name a few, and is author of more than twenty photography books.

​​Plowden's work is currently included in the permanent collection of many art museums, including the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Figge Art Museum, Grohmann Museum, SmithsonianInstitute, George Eastman House, Center for Creative Photography, Art Institute of Chicago, Library of Congress, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. He currently lives in Winnetka, Illinois.