An Interview with Nancy Libson

Nancy Libson is an exhibiting artist in PCNW’s 23rd annual juried exhibition, curated by Kris Graves.

Two Boys Playing, Iceland, 2015
Archival pigment print
Please contact Erin Spencer at with questions or to purchase.

Tell us about yourself, where you’re from, and when you first discovered your love of photography.

I’m originally from CT and live in Wash. DC now. I always loved art and was creative as a kid growing up. My dad gave me a camera in high school I took a photo class at a local college that summer and the rest… history!

Tell us about the work that was selected to be included in Distinction by Kris Graves.

The photo was taken in Iceland- and on the day the pics were taken I was invited to join a few families on a picnic in the woods. The brothers in the photo were playing and I took a bunch of photos- and liked this one the best.

Is the selected work part of a larger body of work?

For the past 5 years I’ve been working on a project related to community in north and south Iceland during the summer. I’ve gotten to know many Icelanders and part of what I love about photography is the relationships and learning about people in my community and all over the world. I love Iceland!!

Who / what are your biggest influences?

There are many people who have influenced me. I grew up in a creative family. My dad was an architect/painter. Just looking at his paintings on the living room wall was a huge inspiration. A few teachers were big influences on me too- a wonderful high school english teacher and a photo teacher during college. In my late 20’s I had a work scholarship at the Paul Strand Archive. Being so intimately connected to Strand’s work, letters, etc- was such a great learning experience and empowered my photography in many ways- since I am a documentary/art photographer. 

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

Not yet. I think about it a lot- but my love and specialty is photographing people- and relating to them. I did take a phone pic of a bird and the newly created birds nest— outside my window- socially distancing from me! :)

PCNW’s annual juried call for entry provides exhibition opportunities for artists and directly supports our programs, scholarships, and labs at PCNW. This helps ensure access to photography for many future generations of creatives. We know you have many options for submitting your work, so please tell us why you chose PCNW? What are your thoughts and experience with submitting your work to different calls?

In submitting my work to different opportunities- it’s about who is jurying the work and the place. From others-I have heard many positive things about PCNW. Personally, I have appreciated our emails back and forth- so thank you. I also value Kris Graves books-and like his viewpoint and many contributions to photography.

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