Carol Rosegg photographs

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Collection Data

Carol Rosegg is a prominent American theater photographer. The Carol Rosegg photographs, which date from 1978 to 2018, include images she shot of thousands of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and touring theatrical performances, as well as promotional portraits of actors, and other theater-related subjects. Photographic formats include black-and-white and color prints and negatives; color slides and transparencies; and digital image files.
Rosegg, Carol (Creator)
Rosegg, Carol (Photographer)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1978 - 2018
Library locations
Billy Rose Theatre Division
Shelf locator: *T-Vim 2018-004
Marcus, Joan
Swope, Martha
New York City Opera
Experimental theater
Off Off-Broadway theater
Off-Broadway theater
Opera -- New York (State) -- New York
Performing arts
Theater -- 20th century
Women photographers
Theater programs
Contact sheets
Biographical/historical: Carol Rosegg is an American theater photographer who began her photography career after meeting renowned theater photographer Martha Swope. Rosegg grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas, studied art history and French at Tufts University, and moved to New York City in the mid-1970s. Following her arrival in New York, Rosegg, unemployed and owning a 35 millimeter camera, photographed a performance by a friend's small Upstate New York acting company. Her photos of Maureen Stapleton were published after the images were sent to Bruce Cohen, a press agent. The following year Cohen contacted Rosegg because Swope was looking for an assistant. Rosegg, unacquainted with Swope's work and theater photography in general, began assisting Swope on a week-long trial basis. She subsequently accepted Swope's offer of one year of employment, which was later extended indefinitely. Rosegg assisted Swope in photographing many Broadway shows, including Dreamgirls, Annie, and A Chorus Line, as well as dance companies, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Martha Graham. Swope became Rosegg's teacher, mentor, and friend. Though she always had her own clients, a few years into her employment, her own name was added to the "Martha Swope Associates" photo credit. Swope retired in 1994 and Rosegg began working solely under her own name. Concurrently, Rosegg documented the New York City Opera's seasons from 1983 until its bankruptcy in 2013. For many years, Rosegg shared an office and studio space with her friend and colleague, fellow theater photographer Joan Marcus. In a 2006 interview with Stage Directions magazine, Rosegg said her immersion in the theater world was of utmost importance to her. As of 2021, Rosegg continues to live and work in New York City.
Content: The Carol Rosegg photographs are the comprehensive body of work produced by the photographer from 1978 to 2018. Over 4,000 of Rosegg's commercial photography assignments are represented, resulting in a thorough visual record of the New York theater scene, especially from the 1990s through the 2010s. The collection contains photographs from Rosegg's time as an assistant to 20th Century theater photographer Martha Swope as well as her later independent work, depicting numerous theatrical performances ranging from Off-Off Broadway to Broadway to touring productions and musicals, one-act festivals, dance, and opera and a range of genres including experimental theatre, new works, classics, community theatre, and children's theatre. Vineyard Theatre and Opera, York Theatre Company, the Irish Repertory Theater, St. Bart's Players, and 59E59 theaters are heavily represented. Many of Rosegg's earliest assignments were at the Westbeth Theatre Center. She also regularly documented Latinx and Asian American works at INTAR and the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre respectively. Since Rosegg and Joan Marcus shared studio space for many years and at times photographed the same productions, it is highly likely that a few of Rosegg's images are located in Marcus' files and vice versa. Researchers of late 20th Century and early 21st Century theater may want to consult both the Carol Rosegg photographs and the Joan Marcus photographs as the collections complement each other. Occasionally slides bear markings attributing them to other Martha Swope and Associates photographers. The volume of images and their formats for each production varies, but as a whole, the collection contains slides, contact sheets, negatives, prints, and digital images. Occasionally programs, correspondence, and press releases are filed with the photographs to help provide context for more obscure assignments. The vast bulk of the photographs are performance images. Other photographs are studio portraits taken in Rosegg's studio or images depicting dress rehearsals. Productions with longer runs are typically represented by larger quantities of images. The collection reflects changes in photographic processes over the course of Rosegg's career, with her early assignments rendered primarily on 35 millimeter black-and-white film, New York City Opera (NYCO) performances represented predominantly by color slides, and her 21st century work beginning to contain digital images. Rosegg was an early adopter of digital photography, making the transition from traditional analog processes gradually throughout the 2000s and 2010s. The first production she shot digitally was Avenue Q in 2003. Although Rosegg's electronic records are not yet accessible to researchers, Assignments files and NYCO files from 2003 onward may include digital images. Researchers can check Series III: Additional Material to determine if digital files exist for a given title. Digital image files become more prevalent throughout the collection as the years progress.
Physical Description
Extent: 200 linear feet (481 boxes)
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b22493502
MSS Unit ID: 24589
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): b352f3f0-cd33-0139-1954-0242ac110004
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