Photographic Center Northwest

Facilitates creation, conversations, and experiences of significant photography.

The Organization was founded in the early 1980s and was originally named the Exposure School of Photography, then later called the Northwest Center for Photography.

A.K. Shethar purchased the organization in 1988, renamed it Photographic Center Northwest, and served as President of the organization from 1988 until 1999. During this period, Ms. Shethar and board leaders at that time oversaw the transformation of the organization into the non-profit it is today. The Center became an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design in 1996. In 1997, the Center relocated from its downtown and Greenlake locations into a 1920’s ambulance building located in the heart of the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle which has been renovated to meet the needs of contemporary photographers.

Over the past 30 years, PCNW has evolved from a small photography school into a vibrant educational institution.

We will continue to be a beacon for the photographic arts in the Pacific Northwest, drawing students and artists from across the region to participate in classes, workshops and exhibitions. Our strategic goals in the coming years are to build our visibility and involvement in the local arts community while broadening our programs to reach the global photographic community. As we continue to cultivate regional partnerships and community connections, we serve our neighbors in Seattle by providing access to regional, national, and international perspectives through photography. You can play a part in this future. The Photo Center actively seeks photographers, curators, educators, and partner organizations to help shape our future while providing access to education in the photographic arts.

Our Mission and Vision

Photographic Center Northwest (PCNW) is an educational institution dedicated to facilitating creation, conversations, and experiences of significant photography. Through our Certificate Program in Fine Art Photography, exhibitions, and an array of public programming we foster dialogue in the region through the global language of today.

Our school serves students of all levels with a full range of coursework in film and digital media, and a rigorous certificate program encompassing theory, aesthetics, and technical mastery. The Photo Center provides its students and the community with resources that include gallery spaces, darkrooms, studios, a digital lab and library. Through exhibitions, lectures, scholarships, and outreach projects, the Photo Center provides access to the photographic arts, to professional and amateur photographers, and to the public at large.


Michelle Dunn Marsh
Executive Director
Over the last two decades, Michelle served in executive and creative roles in the fields of art photography and publishing. Her commitment to education, collaboration, and achievement of excellence have defined her career and gained her national recognition. Michelle’s professional experience includes fifteen years with Aperture Foundation in New York City, first as a designer and later as deputy director for the organization, and as Co-Publisher of Aperture magazine. She was senior editor of art and design at Chronicle Books, San Francisco, and was a tenured professor in graphic design at Seattle Central Community College. She has recently launched Minor Matters Books, a community publishing platform for contemporary art. Image credit: Sylvia Plachy
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Jennifer Brendicke
Associate Director, Administration
Jennifer Brendicke, a graduate of PCNW’s certificate program, has served in various roles over the last eight years including as an administrative associate, education and outreach coordinator, and Registrar. As Associate Director, Administration, Jennifer will continue to be the primary contact for PCNW students, while taking on increased responsibility for internal day-to-day operations.
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Terry Novak
Associate Director, Development
Terry Novak completed her MFA in arts administration at Seattle University in 2012 and has been with PCNW for five years as an intern, outreach coordinator, partnerships manager, and development manager. As Associate Director, Development, Terry Novak expands PCNW’s connections with the broad array of constituents engaged with photography, and strengthens its financial base. Terry is also a member of the Capitol Hill Arts District steering committee and on the program committee for the Seattle Arts Leadership Forum; she received her BFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago and continues to tinker with analogue photography and alternative processes.
Eirik Johnson
Programs Chair
Eirik contributes to our vision as explored through our certificate program, continuing education, and public programs. Eirik is an accomplished artist and has exhibited his work nationally at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Aperture Foundation in New York among others. He has received numerous awards, including the 2012 Neddy at Cornish Award in Open Medium. His work is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; two monographs of his work have been published and he is represented locally by the G. Gibson Gallery.

Ann Pallesen
Partnerships Manager
Ann served as the Gallery Director of PCNW for nearly two decades and has transitioned into the role of Partnerships Manager leading the membership and volunteer programs. She works within the development department connecting PCNW to partnerships in the community. She received her BFA from Colorado State University, Ft. Collins in 1993.  She is a fine art photographer and explores analog processes and has exhibited her work nationally. She teaches workshops and mentors photographers on occasion.
me (1)Joseph Panizzo
Facilities Manager
Facilities Manager Joseph Panizzo worked in the PCNW digital labs as a monitor for two years before joining the PCNW team full-time. Prior to moving to Seattle, Joe ran the darkroom and labs at Columbia College in Chicago, where he received his BFA in photography in 2007. When he is not in the darkroom, Joe plays bike polo, a sport for which he has traveled the world, twice-over. Joe is currently at work on a series of landscapes.


Juan Aguilera
Printing Production & IT Specialist
Juan G. Aguilera has a reputation for excellence: as one of the region’s experts in digital imaging, Juan keeps our media lab and printing facilities running smoothly. Students and professionals come from near and far to learn imaging and editing software from Juan, whose background is in industrial design, and pre-press engineering. A self proclaimed color nut, he believes color is an independent language, with a specific grammar, spelling and intonation. Juan is a teacher at heart, having taught geometry and design with students ranging from middle school to adults, he currently teaches Photoshop, color correction, camera raw and digital photography workflow in the Northwest. He is a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) and has attended several Photoshop World events. Juan received his degree in Industrial Design from the University Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City.
Monica Williams
Monica is a born-and-raised Seattlelite and proud owner of a black lab puppy named Bella. Monica keeps our books straight and makes sure that all of our faculty and visiting artists get paid on time. She is also an integral part of our fundraising team as we project into the future and manage incoming grants and donations.

Susan Hood
Marketing Manager

Prior to joining the team at PCNW, Susan taught writing at Seattle Central; wrote for several nonprofit organizations, including KEXP; and edited publications, such as The Harvard Review. Susan holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, where she was a fellow, a BA from Bard College, and she recently received a Certificate in Marketing Management from the University of Washington. She collects vinyl and posts pictures of her finds on Instagram.
[Image: Giles Clement]


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Julianne Duncan
Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant Julianne Duncan is a welcome addition to PCNW staff, welcoming visitors to the gallery and students to the classrooms and labs. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Julianne received a degree in commercial photography, with an emphasis in fine art and alternative process photography, from The Art Institute. Julianne’s current photography projects include toy cameras and pinhole cameras. [Image: Maurice Kirejczyk]
KLewisKacey Lewis
Administrative Assistant
Kacey Lewis serves as an Administrative Assistant here at PCNW. Originally from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Kacey has found a new home in Seattle. She holds a BA in Art History from Northern Michigan University and a MA in Museology from the University of Washington. In her free time you might find her wandering around a bookstore with a cup of tea in hand.

Also an integral part of our community are our faculty and alumni.

We are grateful to the dozens of volunteers and interns that support our programs throughout the year. Interested in becoming a volunteer? Check our volunteer roles and opportunities.

Honorary Board Members

Alin Shethar, Founder
Rose Tatlow
Chase Jarvis

Board of Trustees

Martin Morfeld, Chair
Joined August 2011
Martin Morfeld was a partner with the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where he practiced in taxation, including working extensively with tax-exempt organizations. He received his B.S. from the University of Southern California, his J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, and a Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University School of Law. He is also a CPA, having spent several years with Price Waterhouse Coopers. His interest in photography goes back many years to his backpacking days doing landscape photography in the Sierra Nevada (initially with his trusty Kodak Instamatic), and he has taken photography workshops with a variety of organizations in the western U.S. In more recent years he has developed a photography collection, and his personal photography has gravitated to more human-oriented subject matter, in particular street photography. He has been working his way through the Photo Center’s black and white, traditional darkroom program, and a variety of other courses and workshops.

Adam L. Weintraub, Vice-Chair
Joined December 2013

Adam L. Weintraub
is a professional photographer and serial entrepreneur who proudly hails from Seattle. For more than 10 years, his workshops and photo tours have been offering insight and creative collaboration in an intimate setting throughout South America. He has coordinated efforts to create a permanent archive of the famed Peruvian indigenous photographer, Martin Chambi. Adam is a past three-term President and 8 term Director of Blue Earth Alliance; he is widely published, collected, hired and admired for his personal work. His book, Vista Andina, offers a contemporary photographic perspective on the Andean region of Peru. Adam’s current pet-project is the Museo del Pisco in Cusco, bringing this magical elixir to the masses.

Erica Schisler, Secretary
Joined April 2013
Erica is a producer, filmmaker and co-owner of Carnage & Rouge, a Seattle based film production company. Prior to starting her own company she was the Director of Advance Product Development in Digital Video at Adobe Systems. She has 20 years experience as accomplished software technologist and entrepreneur. She developed many new products, including Adobe Story and Adobe Collage. She received her BA in filmmaking from The Evergreen State College and an MA of Communications in Digital Media from the University of Washington. Erica has a passion for storytelling through all media and is particularly interested in the experimental animation. In her spare time she is learning printmaking.

Jody Fuentes, Co-Treasurer
Joined December 2013
Jody Fuentes is an accountant at the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority. Prior to rejoining the paid workforce she spent ten years raising her daughters full-time and volunteering as a treasurer for various preschools and PTAs. Seven years later, and with more time on her hands as both her daughters are soon to be in high school, she is currently training to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children and is excited to join the PCNW Board.

Bill Hensler, Co-Treasurer
Joined January 2016
Bill Hensler is Chief-Product Owner and Co-Founder of Pixvana, a Seattle-based software start-up building virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) delivery platforms for media and entertainment applications. Bill is an engineering virtuoso responsible for building the core technology on audio and imaging products ubiquitous in the film and video industries, web authoring and digital photography. Apple enjoyed Bill’s tenure as Senior Director of Engineering from 2010-2014, where his engineering, design and research direction for photo applications and image frameworks for the Photos group contributed to the selfie’s worldwide ascent to media domination. Before Apple, Bill spent ten years at Adobe Systems in VPE, GM and Chief Technologist roles. He started by revamping key products like Premiere Pro and After Effects and creating 1.0 versions of Audition, Encore and Media Encoder, hence introducing the first integrated suite of products at Adobe. As the chief technologist for the Creative Business unit he continued leading the engineering, design and research direction for the Digital Video and Digital Publishing businesses. As an engineering leader Bill is a creative force in mixing computer science and art by building engineering and design teams that bring fledgling digital mediums into the mainstay of digital artists’ repertoire.

Kevin Gilbert, Board Member
Joined January 2016
Kevin Gilbert is an award-winning photojournalist, teacher, entrepreneur, and digital photography evangelist. A leading voice for the power and emotion of photography, Kevin is the founder, of Blue Pixel, one of the country’s most influential digital creative groups, and also leads a national initiative called PhotoCoaches™. In 2012, Kevin helped form Mylio; he is currently a member of the Panasonic Lumix Luminary team, one of 12 in North America; and previously was a Nikon Legend Behind the Lens. Kevin has shot over two million digital files since his early days in digital on the Presidential campaign of 1996. Kevin is currently with Indigio Slate, a digital marketing agency with a passion for technology. He can always be found having fun with cameras, and lives in Redmond, WA with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

William Holderman, Board Member
Joined January 2014
William Holderman is Gastroenterologist and Senior Partner with Digestive Health Specialists based in Tacoma, Washington. His interest in photography began in high school where he served as staff photographer and editor of his high school yearbook. He deeply appreciates the art and craft of photography having spent many hours in his home darkroom developing and printing images from his Nikon F. He and his wife, Lisa collect 20th Century vintage and contemporary photography, photographic monographs, and ephemera. He is dedicated to the art and artists of the Northwest having served on the Board of Trustees of the Tacoma Art Museum and co-chair of its collection committee. They live in Seattle with their two teenage daughters.

Marilyn Mason, Board Member
Joined in 2014
Years ago Marilyn worked as a photojournalist in Washington DC. Later she became Director of Libraries for the cities of Atlanta and Cleveland and founded a not-for-profit service called WebJunction to provide online training for library staff. During that period she continued to shoot but became more a collector than a creator of photography. About ten years ago Marilyn rediscovered her passion for creating photographic art and began updating her skills with workshops like those offered by PCNW. She is a strong believer in the power of photography to shape the way we experience the world. Her work can be viewed on her website:

Kristan Parks, Board Member
Joined in 2016
Born, raised, and educated in Seattle, Kristan has spent the last 20 years pursuing her love of glass blowing through classes and events at both Pilchuck Glass School and Pratt Fine Arts Center. More recently, a life-long love of photography led her to Photographic Center Northwest, where she has been a member of and taken classes and workshops since 2012. In addition to glass and photography, she has designs and builds gardens and privately cooks for others. Currently, she is working on building The Goodness Report, an online platform she has developed featuring images and content of personal work and passions, as well as an aggregate for all things good.

Matt Ragen, Board Member
Joined January 2014
Matt is currently a Principal Product Manager at Amazon Web Services. Previously, in a 25-year career at Microsoft, he held leadership roles in software licensing, marketing and sales operations management. His previous board experience includes The Bush School as well as Bridges To Understanding. Matt’s grandfather gave him his first real camera (a Rollei 35s) in high school after he learned how to make prints in a darkroom. Over the last ten years, he rekindled that passion starting with digital captures and, recently, he has become reacquainted with film where he can regularly be found making silver and platinum prints in PCNW’s facilities. Matt documents his family’s adventures as well as the occasional dark side of the lens cap. He has taken a handful of classes at PCNW and is planning to further sharpen his skills in coming years.