Over the last ten years Lisa has held curatorial positions in non-profit and academic galleries, as well as private collections and museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library, George Mason University Art Galleries, The District of Columbia Arts Center, Transformer, Cassilhaus Gallery and Collection, The Nasher Museum of Art, and The Center for Documentary Studies. Lisa is currently Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


Selected Curatorial Projects

William Gedney: Only the Lonely, 1958–1983 | By Gilles Mora, Lisa McCarty, and Margaret Sartor

Co-published by The University of Texas Press & Editions Hazan, 2017

PRESS: The Guardian | New York Times

The first book on photographer William Gedney in nearly twenty years, this volume offers the only comprehensive survey of his work and is published on the occasion of the first retrospective exhibition of his work at Pavillon Populaire in Montpellier, France.


Mysterious, introspective, fiercely private, and self-taught, street photographer William Gedney (1932–1989) produced impressive series of images focused on people whose lives were overlooked, hidden, or reduced to stereotypes. He was convinced that photography was a means of expression as efficient as literature, and his images were accompanied by writings, essays, excerpts from books, and aphorisms. Gedney avoided self-promotion, and his underrepresented work was largely unknown during his short lifetime. He died at the age of fifty-six from AIDS.

William Gedney: Only the Lonely, 1955–1984 is the first comprehensive retrospective of his photography. It presents images from all of his major series, including eastern Kentucky, where Gedney lived with and photographed the family of laid-off coal miner Willie Cornett; San Francisco and Haight-Ashbury, where he attached himself to a group of disaffected youth, photographing them as they drifted from one vacant apartment to the next during the “Summer of Love”; early photo-reportage of gay pride parades in the eighties; Benares, India, Gedney’s first trip abroad, during which he obsessively chronicled the concurrent difficulty and beauty of daily life; and night scenes that, in the absence of people and movement, evoke a profound universal loneliness. The most complete overview of Gedney’s work to date, this volume reveals the undeniable beauty of a major American photographer.

Intimate Gestures: Handmade Books by William Gedney

November 12, 2015 - March 1, 2016 | Chappell Family Gallery, Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham, NC

Intimate Gestures: Handmade Books by William Gedney surveys the photographer’s little known practice of making photobooks by hand, a pursuit he was devoted to throughout his entire career. The exhibit features seven completed photobooks and four book projects that were in-progress at the time of Gedney’s death in 1989, as well as handmade journals and related ephemera. All of the books were conceived, designed, and constructed by Gedney and correspond to his major photographic series produced in Eastern Kentucky, New York, San Francisco, and Benares, India between 1954 and 1980.

While Gedney’s photographs have been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Center for Documentary Studies, George Eastman House, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Intimate Gestures is the first exhibit to highlight Gedney’s work in book form and the first time his entire collection of handmade books have been publically displayed.

The exhibition is curated by Lisa McCarty, Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

An Everyday Affair, Selling the Kodak Image to America 1888-1989

April 10–Saturday, September 13, 2014, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Durham, NC

The idea gradually dawned on me that what we were doing was not merely making dry plates, but that we were starting out to make photography an everyday affair.” —George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company

This exhibit surveys 101 years of Eastman Kodak ads to examine the ideology of simplicity and pleasure that the company sold to America with its products.

Alex Harris,  Phil Hanes's House, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Alex Harris, Phil Hanes's House, Winston-Salem, North Carolina


Total Reflective Abstraction: Selections from the Cassilhaus Collection, Cassilhaus Gallery, Durham, NC

Artists: Masao Yamamoto, Hiroshi Wantanabe, David Goldes, John Menapace, André Kertész, Mark Steinmetz, Frank Hunter, Doug Keyes, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Lee Friedlander, Aaron Siskind, Connie Imboden, David Hilliard, Kenneth Josephson, Ray K Metzker, Tamas Deszo

André Kertész,  Martinique

André Kertész, Martinique

Installation View

Installation View


New Beginnings, Founders Hall Gallery, George Mason University, Arlington, VA

Artists: Deborah Carroll Anzinger, Reuben Breslar, Treva Elwood, Jennifer Walton

Deborah Carroll Anzinger, Moment

E5: Rangefinder, Transformer, Washington, D.C.

Artists: Kristina Bilonick, Michael Matason, Jillian Pichocki, Bryan Whitson

Installation View

Feature in the Washington Post Express

Feature in the Washington Post Express

By Chance, The District of Columbia Arts Center, Washington, D.C.

Artists: Jym Davis, Wendy Downs, Andy Holtin & Galo Moncayo, T.M. Lowery, Michael Matason, Larinda Meinburg

Andy Holtin & Galo Moncayo,  Search

Andy Holtin & Galo Moncayo, Search