GEOFF WINNINGHAM, born in Jackson, Tennessee, earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Rice University and a master’s degree in photography from the Institute of Design at IIT, where he studied with Aaron Siskind and Arthur Siegel. He returned to Houston in 1968 to begin a career in photography, documentary filmmaking, and journalism. He joined the art department at Rice University in 1969, and he continues to teach there today, holding the Lynette S. Autrey Chair in the Humanities.
Over a career that spans more than 50 years, he has received two fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and numerous commissions. He has published fifteen books and completed three documentary films on a wide variety of subjects, primarily related to Texas and Mexican culture. His book Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea: The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico (2010) won both the Ron Tyler Prize from the Texas State Historical Association and the J. B. Jackson Award from the Foundation for Landscape Studies. His photographs are in major collections across the United States, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; San Antonio Museum of Art; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; and the Wittliff Collections.
His work has been published in numerous anthologies, including 20th Century Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art, Courthouse, Faces: A History of the Portrait in Photography, and Masters of the Camera.
His most recent books include: Of the Soil: Photographs of Vernacular Architecture and Stories of Changing Times in Arkansas (2014); In the Eyes of Our Children: Houston, An American City (2017);, a revised and expanded new edition of his 1971 book, Friday Night in the Coliseum. and his latest book, a personal memoir on Mexico and the Day of the Dead, A Trail of Marvels (2022).
Recent lectures include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2013), the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock (2014), North Texas University (2018), and Rice University (2020).
He continues to direct the Pozos Art Project, Inc., teaching photography and art to children in Mineral de Pozos, Mexico and in Houston.