About Us

Center for Photographic Art is a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation • 501(c)(3)

Contemporary Photography in a Historic Carmel Setting

Welcome to the Center for Photographic Art – the second oldest members’ photography gallery organization in the country. A short walk from Ocean Avenue in Carmel, CA brings you to the venerable gallery originally occupied by the Friends of Photography, established in 1967, that was launched by iconic artists Ansel Adams, Cole Weston, and Wynn Bullock. Today, CPA continues to serve as a valuable asset to its members, the community, and the greater world of the photographic arts.

CPA’s gallery, which is free to the public, features the finest works of contemporary photography.  The CPA Lecture Series brings artists, curators, educators, and other leaders in the field of photography to our venue at the Sunset Center for in depth examinations into a variety of relevant topics. Special monthly events are planned for CPA members only and include critiques, film viewing, book reviews, and print exchanges to name but a few.

If you have an interest in photography and in networking with other enthusiasts and appreciators, you’ll enjoy our exhibitions, artistic-development programs, lectures, and special members’ nights. If you’ve wanted to learn more about photographic art and collecting, we encourage you to join CPA’s vibrant, supportive and ever- expanding photography community by becoming a member.


The Center for Photographic Art inspires the artist and the audience by nurturing the personal growth essential to creating and appreciating art. CPA works to increase understanding of and respect for photography and its important role in contemporary culture.

CPA’s mission involves increasing understanding and respect of photography and its evolving role in contemporary culture. CPA strives to address artistic development, build well-informed audiences, stimulate dialogue, and promote inquiry about photography and related media through education, exhibitions, publications, lectures, fellowship programs, and community collaboration.


Community – We are an inclusive community of photographic artists, educators, students, curators, photojournalists, hobbyists, and community supporters who assist, support, and educate each other in pursuit of our artistic vision.

Openness – We are open to all ideas, approaches, and techniques regarding what a photograph, and a photographer, can be. Located in Carmel, CA, and occupying the same gallery space as the legendary Friends of Photography, our roots in the West Coast tradition run deep. We honor those roots while simultaneously exploring, encouraging, and championing original thinking in photography.

Accessibility – Entry to our ADA accessible gallery is always free. We feature diverse exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and events, most of which are low-cost or free. We have broadened our access by offering many online options, opening our programs to participants from across the country and around the globe.

The Artist – We are an artist-centered organization. We foster individual artistic development and the appreciation of contemporary photography. Our programs focus on a range of topics including personal vision, history of the photographic medium, innovative new techniques and ideas, building an audience, and career development.

The Past Informs The Future

CPA honors the history of the renowned school of West Coast fine art photography by upholding our forbearers’ regional traditions of mastery of craft, the concept of mentorship and mutual support, and the commitment to creating and appreciating uplifting and stimulating art.

While adhering to our photographic roots, CPA also encourages a new generation of photographers by offering a succession of dynamic exhibitions, pioneering workshops, enlightening lectures, creative publications, personal critiques and community service. CPA cultivates respect for diverse subjects, approaches, techniques, materials and equipment. At CPA we nurture personal growth essential for every artist and encourage photographers to pursue image making that is unique to each person.

Join Us!

CPA invites you to join in all of these pursuits and become a first time member. Or renew your membership and consider raising your level to help strengthen CPA and ensure that this valuable community resource continues to flourish. By attending CPA events and participating in our volunteer programs and special members’ activities, you will meet others who share your passion for the art of photography. Member benefits include discounts on CPA workshops, events and entry fees as well as an automatic subscription to CPA’s monthly e-newsletter, focus.


CPA galleries are free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated.

Group Tours

Guided tours of CPA’s exhibitions are available for schools and groups during gallery hours or by special appointment when the gallery is closed. Contact us at cpa-info@photography.org to set up a group tour.

Visitors with Disabilities

The CPA gallery is wheelchair accessible.


CPA has a free parking lot located at the Sunset Center. Parking is also available on the street.

General Inquiries

831-625- 5181 | www.photography.org