About the Portfolios

These photographs were made in Washington, the American Southwest, and Mexico, over the past ten years. Most are chromogenic color prints from film, printed in the much missed color darkroom; newer work is scanned from film or digital.  For purchase info:  please feel free to contact me at nancypf@gmail.com.

Work from Mexico   From Oaxaca, Puebla, Tlaxcala, and Michoacan. The Mexican spirit and aesthetic has always resonated for me.  I love the humble vernacular architecture and interior decoration, use of color, and hand made signage.  Many images show the ubiquitous lamina - tin - used for shacks, shops, fencing, and doors. Brightly colored, painted, or covered with brand names (from packagers' overruns), and secured with bottle caps glued to nails, the lamina can be aesthetically pleasing but is structurally problematic.  It rusts and fades within a year, offers little protection from the elements, and is easily untethered by a strong wind. Yet until residents can afford cement or brick, these sheets of tin, repurposed from McCormick, Tostito, Jumex, Kraft, et al, provide cheap though ephemeral options for colorful and creative constructions.

Manos de Vida (Hands of Life) is work done for Northwest Medical Teams' Oaxaca-based aid organization, working in the poorest villages around Oaxaca City. They bring medical workers; teach literacy, English, and peace classes; pour concrete floors; build ecological latrines; and train peer health educators. I was lucky to have access to the homes and classrooms of people served by Manos de Vida; they were so generous with their friendship and hospitality. 

Oaxaca has had a long history of political repression, extreme poverty, and discrimination against indigenous peoples.  With appreciation to those who dedicate their work to exposure of these problems, I admittedly focus more on how people survive and bring some small joy and beauty into their lives.  Given the enduring nature of hardships in Oaxaca, the spirit and life force carrying people forward is acknowledged and celebrated.

Newcomers are students from Seattle World School. Most of these images accompanied students' essays about coming to the U.S., in a series of 5 books done for the school. Others are students from Club Photo, a photography program I founded and taught for six years. Working with these students has been a special joy.

On the Duwamish focuses on a strip of dirt road next to the Duwamish River in South Seattle, where a long time resident was evicted after 46 years. Until her eviction, Lily refused to leave her home, even as it collapsed around her, and despite being offered far more comfortable surroundings in a senior residence. Lily's caretaker lived next door in a tiny trailer with her 300+ pound husband. She and Lily created a funky and beautiful garden retreat on their edge of the river, sharing space with six cats, a duck family, geese, a blue heron, an otter, and a dog. On the other side of Lily's, workers and homeless people took shelter under huge pear and apple trees in a makeshift habitation. Within four months of meeting Lily, all of this disappeared.  After Lily's eviction and bulldozing of the site, I continued to photograph the site and its visitors.

Stacked explores color and geometry of the "stacked" industrial landscape in Seattle's Duwamish/South Park neighborhood and beyond.  I wondered what it would be like for Lily and her neighbors to dwell among stacks of containers, barrels, recycled materials, and industrial equipment.  Stacked explores the visual landscape for people living and working where residential and industrial spaces coexist. 
South by Southwest images were made in the deserts of Arizona, California, Nevada, and Mexico, on annual excursions to the visual and climatic opposite of the Pacific Northwest, where the light is beautiful, the vegetation exotic, and the space exhilarating. These are black and white images printed in the color darkroom.

On the Other Side and Color Fields are from the east side of the Cascade Mountains - Seattleites' quick escape route to the "other".  I was enamored of agricultural landscapes  and discoveries in the smallest towns and roads on the map.

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