Welcome to the website of photographer Benjamen Chinn.  Ben was a lifelong photographer who most notably photographed San Francisco's Chinatown and Paris in the 1940s and early 50s.  He developed his skills under Ansel Adams and Minor White at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA), now the San Francisco Art Institute.  Ben studied with a number of significant artists including Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Lisette Model, Ruth Bernhard, Berenice Abbott, Dorr Bothwell, Richard Diebenkorn, Fernand Léger and Alberto Giacometti.  He in turn helped introduce Paul Caponigro to photography and trained a generation of military photographers.



Ben died on April 25th, 2009 in San Francisco at age 87.  His photographic accomplishment is just now coming to light as his images are being archived by his estate.  On this website we’ll provide biographical information and introduce you to some of Ben’s black and white images of San Francisco’s Chinatown and Paris.  Many of these images have never been seen publicly before and many have never been printed.


Please check back here from time to time, as we continue to discover these wonderful images by Ben Chinn.

Imogen Cunningham:

Portrait of Benjamen Chinn, 1973


© The Imogen Cunningham Trust

Used by permission


Imogen Cunningham Trust website

Benjamen Chinn: Reading News in the Bank Window, 1947

© 2020 Benjamen Chinn Photographic Archive.

All images used with permission