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Impact Visuals Photograph Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 3 Sep 2020

Biographical History

Impact Visuals (1986-2001) was a New York City-based photo agency, archive, and publication service, with a focus on social justice, equity, and multicultural issues. Founded by Michael Kaufman, the co-op provided photographs and photojournalist services to a variety of clients, from mainstream newspapers and magazines to progressive, non-profit organizations and alternative media. At some point, Impact Visuals acquired the archive of South African cooperative Afrapix which was added to their archive. Impact "[had] a core value of documenting people and their fight for self-determination. Also the goal is to support the photographers who do this kind of work and are members of the co-op." ["Nicholas Herman interviews Katie Brennan", The Co-operative Learning Centre, undated]

Impact was cooperatively owned, with a high bar for membership; its 80 or so member photographers received 50% of the revenue generated from their archive sales and 60% of their assignment sales, but retained copyright to their images and were allowed to market their work independently. Members were expected to be "photographically skilled with a consistently unique style of shooting, someone that is dedicated to political and social awareness, someone that is able to produce at a consistently high level, and someone who will add to the racial, ethnic, sexual and geographical diversity of the cooperative. Of utmost importance is the applicants independence, motivation and interest in working together towards a common goal." [Geraldine Baum, "Impact Visuals Internship Journal", Spring 1996]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Impact Visuals Photograph Collection contains black-and-white photographs taken by members of the New York City photographers' co-operative. Reflecting Impact Visuals' focus on documenting social justice issues, most are of protests, rallies, marches, and other expressions of public pressure for change.

Subjects include budget cuts, the Republican legislative agenda known as "Contract with America", health care, jobs/unemployment, "living wage," and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Most of the photographs are of events in the United States, but there are a few from Canada, India, and Guatemala. Specific issues, organizations, and identified individuals are given in the inventory below. An index to photographers whose work appears in the collection may be found at the end of this finding aid.

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by topic; the few international photos are filed at the end.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advance notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Impact Visuals' archive is held by the Thomas J. Dodd Center at the University of Connecticut.

Subject Headings


Jackson, Jesse.
Wallis, Jim.

Corporate Bodies

Impact Visuals.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Sojourners Fellowship.


Documentary photography -- United States.
Environmentalism -- United States.
North American Free Trade Agreement (1992 December 17)
Protest movements -- United States.
Strikes and lockouts -- United States.
Trade regulation -- United States.
United States -- Economic policy.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Impact Visuals Photography Co-Op Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2020.

Table of Contents


Index to photographers


Index to photographers

This index includes all photographers whose work is represented in the collection, with the topic folders where their work may be found.