Master of Fine Arts (Photography and Digital Media)
Claremont Graduate University

Bachelor of Arts, with honors (Renaissance History)
Bachelor of Arts, with honors (Sociology of Collective Behavior)

University of California at Santa Barbara

Douglas McCulloh is an artist based in Southern California. His work has been shown internationally in hundreds of exhibitions including:

  • Academy of Art, San Francisco
  • Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles
  • Asian Cultural Center, New York
  • California Museum of Photography
  • Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe
  • Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China 
  • Centro de Creación Contemporánea, Madrid
  • Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City
  • China San Jiangyuan Photography Festival
  • Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans
  • Cooper Union School of Art, New York
  • École de Communication Visuelle, Paris
  • Forum Romeu Correia, Almada, Portugal
  • Huntington Library, San Marino, California
  • Institute de Cultura, Barcelona, Spain
  • KIT/Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • LA Freewaves New Media Biennial, Los Angeles
  • Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California
  • La Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy
  • Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
  • Musée de l'Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, France
  • Museo de Territorio, Sardina, Italy
  • Santral Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
  • Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • Wimbledon College of Art, London

McCulloh is best-known for system-driven projects that combine Surrealist-inspired chance operations with high-volume photography. The artist's major bodies of work are multi-layered and system-driven. His projects share a number of common elements: a basis in chance operations and sampling, high-volume image-making, the embrace of new technology, direct engagement with subjects, and the inclusion of layered information including photographs, text, maps, sound, and other data.

McCulloh's books include:  Facing Fire: Art, Wildfire, and the End of Nature in the New West (Inlandia Institute, 2020); In the Sunshine of Neglect: Defining Photographs and Radical Experiments in Inland Southern California, 1950 to the Present (Inlandia Institute, 2018); The Great Picture: Making the World's Largest Photograph (Hudson Hills Press, New York, 2012); Dream Street (Heyday Books, Berkeley, California, 2009); Sight Unseen: International Photography by Blind Artists (University of California/California Museum of Photography, 2009).  (On the Beach (Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida, 2007); The Edge of Air (Laguna Wilderness Press, California, 2005); and Chance Encounters (University of California/California Museum of Photography, 1999). In addition, his work has been included in scores of books, many by notable authors such as Lucy R. Lippard, Trisha Ziff, and Eric Renner.


McCulloh serves as Senior Curator at UCR ARTS: California Museum of Photography (CMP). He has curated twenty-five exhibitions at various institutions, including ten at the CMP.  The most noted of these is Sight Unseen: International Photography by Blind Artists, the first major survey of photography by blind artists. His curatorial projects have shown in diverse venues: Kennedy Center for the Arts, Washington D.C.; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; Canadian Museum for Human Rights; Flacon Art Center, Moscow; Center for Visual Art, Denver, Colorado; Manuel Álvarez Bravo Center for Photography in Oaxaca; Peterson Automotive Museum, Los Angeles; and Sejong Center, Seoul, South Korea.

McCulloh is one of six artists who transformed an abandoned southern California F-18 jet hangar into the world's largest camera to make the world's largest photograph. The Great Picture is regarded as a punctuation mark at the end of 170 years of film-based photography and the start of the digital era. The project has been the centerpiece of solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles; Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; and Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans.

McCulloh is a five-time recipient of funding support from the California Council for the Humanities. Projects, exhibitions, and publications have received support from numerous other institutions. They include the Getty Foundation, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Albert A. Dorskind Foundation, California Endowment, and California Historical Society.

In addition to international exhibitions, McCulloh's work has been featured in many significant exhibitions on California and the West. They include This Side of Paradise: Body and Landscape in Los Angeles Photographs, a 150-year survey of Los Angeles photography organized by the Huntington Library and Art Collections; Hollywould, LA Freewaves 11th Annual New Media Biennial's internationally curated look at tinseltown; 60,000 Photographs in Hollywood, a multi-year solo commission by the Los Angeles Neighborhoods Project for the City of Los Angeles photo archive; Speculative Terrain: Recent Views of the Southern California Landscape, a traveling exhibition organized by Loyola Marymount University; Direct Exposure: Perspectives on the Southern California Landscape by the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles; Ocean View: The Depiction of Southern California Coastal Lifestyles at the Laguna Art Museum and Autry Museum; and Rearview Mirror: Automobile Images and American Identities at the California Museum of Photography.

McCulloh's work is held in numerous institutional collections, among them Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris; Photographic Resource Center, Boston; California Museum of Photography; City of Los Angeles Photo Archive; Laguna Art Museum; Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles; Huntington Library and Art Collections, San Marino, California; Riverside Art Museum, California; California Water Education Foundation, Sacramento, California; Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida, and University of California Irvine Special Collections and Archives.