Spring 2024 Alumni News

Beyond the Open Call: How to Make Connections, Build Relationships, and Get Your Work in Front of People Who Can Expand Your Practice and Career

Presented by the PCNW Alumni Association, in partnership with PCNW and Glazer’s Camera
April 20, 2024 | Saturday 12pm-1:30pm
In-person at PCNW
Free with RSVP

This in-person panel discussion features three accomplished artists and is moderated by Jon Feinstein, co-founder of Humble Arts Foundation. The discussion features artists who consistently develop and exhibit significant and impactful bodies of work, offering insights into the complexities of career advancement in a competitive art market. The panel will focus on harnessing social media, in-person networking, and strategies for deciding which open calls are worth submitting to. Panelists include photographic artists Erica Deeman, Natalie Krick, and Rafael Soldi, with moderator Jon Feinstein. The discussion will break down barriers and create transparency in an art world that remains mysterious and unattainable to many artists. The artists will walk through their career path, and share how they developed the skills and relationships that helped pave their way. The in person discussion will be followed by a Q&A session.

Alumni Highlights

Image Credit: David Adam Edelstein, Winter Garden

David Adam Edelstein

graduated 2001

interview by Lisa Ahlberg, grad. 2005


I like to say that I’m a photographer who’s a UX designer in my free time.

We are finally beginning to come out of the dark days of winter here in Seattle. You’ve been posting beautiful images loosely described as “from the winter garden.” I’m interested in why you chose this subject and if the Platinum toned Kallitypes are a new process for you?

The winter garden work came out of a combination of forces. First, although I think of myself as primarily a street photographer, I also hate being cold and wet, so I don’t shoot on the street that much in the winter, so I tend to shoot closer to home. Second, back in August I took Dan Gregory’s platinum printing workshop at PCNW, because I had always wanted to try it. By the end of the weekend I was hooked. Third, when I first started printing in platinum at home, I was sort of spelunking through my archives, seeing what work resonated with the process. I started printing a bunch of work that I had shot at Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu, which was fun. Since I have been shooting at Foster’s for something like 40 years, I decided that I wanted to work on a totally new project to really dig into the process and the aesthetics of the medium. All of that came together – along with a macro lens – to become the winter garden project.

I’ve only seen them on Instagram and Facebook, have you been able to share the physical prints in a public way yet?

I haven’t had them up on a wall anywhere yet; I feel like I’m still figuring out the project at this point. But that’s the goal.

Image Credits: David Adam Edelstein, Winter Garden

I’ve also seen your work the Transit Diaries. Can you tell us about the inspiration for that work?

The transit diaries are really a response to my inability to shut off the photographic/visual part of my brain – it’s less that I try to remain creative and more that I honestly can’t help it. With my “real” photos I stay pretty traditional, but with the transit diaries I gave myself permission to really screw around with manipulation, since I was just sitting there on the bus or the light rail letting my mind wander. Predictably that freedom has settled into a consistent look because I am always thinking in bodies of work.

Image Credit: David Adam Edelstein, Transit Diaries

You graduated from PCNW awhile ago, what is your photographic practice today? How did the certificate program prepare you for what you are now doing?

A friend once said that every great scientific advancement has come after someone has either said “I wonder what…” or “huh, that’s weird.” That’s kind of the essence of my photographic practice. It’s all about examining the world around me, whether it’s wandering around a city,
somewhere rural, or our backyard. I try not to have any dogma about the kind of work I do.

PCNW really did two things for me: First, it gave me a fantastic background to be able to solve any photographic problem I’m interested in – whether technical or aesthetic. Second, the amazing teachers I worked with taught me the discipline to work through an idea and see where it took me.

For more about David Adam Edelstein:
Instagram @davidadamedelstein

Image Credits: David Adam Edelstein, Transit Diaries

Image Credit: Kristin Zwiers, Seattle Icon Double Exposure Red Chairs

Kristin Zwiers

graduated 2015

interview by Joan Dinkelspiel, grad. 2017


I’m grateful to PCNW for the quality education, the inspiring teachers and fellow students, and for developing the confidence in me to pursue a career in photography. I love my job as a photographer and am proud of the work that I do. Every day brings new people to my studio and new opportunities to connect, grow, and make the world a little more beautiful.

What is it about photography that sustains your interest? Other mediums that you use for sharing your creativity?

I’m a visual learner and I love images, photos, pictures, etc. On occasion, I dabble in painting and baking, but I’m not very good at either.

What’s relevant about your life prior to photography that contributes to your photographic work now and that might be of interest to aspiring photographic artists?

Since I was a child, I have always loved taking photos and took a photography class in junior high. I remember taking a photo of my friends’ shoes after gathering us all in a circle, and I loved the perspective (aerial) and the graphically pleasing, but imperfect, circle of unique shoe shapes/textures/colors. Unfortunately, in college, I never entertained photography as a possible career, but I sure wish that I had because I absolutely love my job! I spent 10 years teaching ESL after college, then switched to photography, and have never regretted that change in careers.

Image Credit: Kristin Zwiers, Executive Group Photo

What are you doing with photography now?

I own a photography studio, Adonis Photo, in downtown Seattle, specializing in corporate headshots and international passport/visa photos.

How would you describe your work now as compared with your thesis project?

My photography work at Adonis is very different because it is not very creative and involves little if no fine art, unfortunately. However, I refer back to my education at PCNW on a regular basis in terms of lighting, posing, and critiquing photographs.

Which of your projects are you most enthusiastic about?

I’m working on a project titled “mimics.” When I’m out and about, I keep my eyes open for things that look like other things. For example, the carrots from my garden looked like they were dancing, so I created a photo mimicking that motion.

Image Credit: Kristin Zwiers, Dancing Carrots

What were some of the highlights of your PCNW Thesis / Certificate Program experience?

Meeting Suzanne Fiore and Andrej Gregov, my thesis cohort. I still meet with them a few times per year to discuss photography projects. Also, having Eirik Johnson as our thesis teacher because as we all know he is talented, encouraging, knowledgeable, and fun. Meeting inspiring, wonderful people through the program. And our thesis show.

What advice would you give photographers?

Create goals, say them out loud, and keep pursuing them. If I can become a professional photographer, anyone can! Also, make friends who are photographers so you can keep growing and learning.

Tell us about the process for your work.

For headshots, companies send their new hires to my studio. I set up the lights and backdrop per their specs. I work to create a connection with the client and aim to capture the best and most flattering image of them that I can, while making the experience positive, and also fun. For passport photos, most people find us on Google, they make an appointment online, and I take 5-7 photos of them per the country’s specs. They select their favorite (or one that makes them look least like a criminal, because usually the specs require them not to smile). I edit the photo, print it out, and send them on their way.

Image Credit: Kristin Zwiers, Proliance, Sean Haloman

Where do you show your work?

In my studio, and I also have a project on display at Wagner Dental in NE Seattle.

Projects you are working on?

I am working on a few on-going projects: Discarded COVID masks and more city icon double exposures.

For more about Kristin Zwiers:
www.adonisphoto.com & www.kristinzwiers.com
Instagram: @adonisphotoseattle

Image Credit: Lisa Ahlberg, West Seattle Meet-Up / Alumni Critique Group

Alumni Critique Groups

Are you a graduate or current student of PCNW’s Certificate in Fine Art Photography?
You’re invited to join us at one of our Alumni Critique Groups! Feel free to join in at any time to either group and bring new work to share.

Meets First Wednesday of every month @ 3 – 5pm
Where: Chuck’s Hop Shop Seward Park / 5041 Wilson Ave S., Seattle, WA
More info: Jenny Hansen Das at jenny@jennyhansendas.com or Janet Politte at jmp.000@icloud.com

Meets Second Wednesday of every month @11am – 1pm
Where: West Seattle Uptown Espresso / 4301 SW Edmunds St., Seattle , WA
More info: Al Varady at alvarady@gmail.com

Image Credit: Lisa Ahlberg, Seward Park Meet-Up / Alumni Critique Group

Alumni Updates / News / Exhibitions

Image Credit:  John Wilmot, Studio at Equinox


by Lisa Ahlberg

I caught up with John Wilmot, graduate 2017, the night of his March studio opening at Equinox Studios in Georgetown and asked him to tell us about it.

“Having a space at Equinox is an opportunity to engage with a large community of artists already there, and an opportunity to self-curate and share work on a monthly basis. Having a studio also allows me a separate space / environment to immerse myself in — away from my day-to-day routine at home.

The work that I selected for the March open house included past and current photographs and a selection of (mostly) welded metal sculptures.”

John is actively wandering the city taking photos. He says, “as far as ‘wandering the city’ it’s kind of an extension of my thesis project. I’m particularly drawn to urban nightscapes — an attempt to render what is ordinary and ‘safe’ during daylight hours as remarkable and somewhat “edgy” at night. The images are almost always devoid of actual humans, but rather carry an implication of their presence, by structures and various detritus in the frame. I sometimes include an object at the edge of the photograph that hopefully makes the viewer question the time and place of the capture.”

Image Credits: Lisa Ahlberg, Georgetown House images by John Wilmot

Image Credit: Jenny Hansen Das, The Seattle Light Room


My name is Jenny Hansen Das and I graduated from the PCNW Certificate Program last year in 2023. I am working on an exciting new project called The Seattle Light Room — a community darkroom and gallery in the Seward Park neighborhood. The space will focus on analog and alternative photography, with opportunities to show work in the gallery space and/or rent the darkroom facilities. Memberships will be available for joining the darkroom, as well as a rent-by-the-hour option. Eventually, we will also offer workshops. The first one will be a weekend workshop teaching the chromoskedasic sabatier process.

My thesis project was rooted in analog and alternative processes. Spending a year immersed in that world led me to want to build out a permanent space to create the work. When I found a retail space that could accommodate a darkroom and gallery, I jumped on the opportunity. Going through the rigors of the thesis year of the Certificate Program gave me the confidence and foundation to take on this project.

The Seattle Light Room will open to the public on April 27, 2024. The address is 5040 Wilson Ave S Seattle, WA. Look for info on the open house on Instagram: @TheSeattleLightRoom. I can’t wait to show you all the space.

Image Credit: Jenny Hansen Das, The Seattle Light Room Preview Event


Catalogs from the Redeconstructions / An Tobar Exhibition works by Al Varady and Cian Hayes, that was on view at Solas Gallery January 27 – March 9, 2024, are now available for purchase!

Solas Gallery
300 S Washington St Unit Z
Seattle, WA 98104

Image Credits: Cian Hayes, Catalog & Installation of Redeconstructions / An Tobar Exhibition

Image Credit: Harini Krishnamurthy


Alumni member Harini Krishnamurthy will be a part of the upcoming Still Moving Frameworks: South Asian Creatives Between Aesthetic Expressions and Technical Imperatives online panel discussion on April 25, 2024, hosted by PCNW in partnership with Tasveer Film Festival. This panel will bring together South Asian creatives to talk about their methods and creative approach to storytelling. Details and RSVP below!

Still Moving Frameworks: South Asian Creatives Between Aesthetic Expressions and Technical Imperatives
April 25, 2024 | Thursday 6pm (Pacific Time)


Alumni member Rachel Demy has an exhibition on view in the PCNW North Wing Gallery (in the stairwell) now through June 2, 2024 called Narcissus Wandering. Join Rachel for an artist reception April 11th, from 6:15 – 7:15pm (same night as the opening reception for Alterations, on view in the main gallery through June 2, 2024).

Image Credit: Rachel Demy, And gazing proved her demise


Recipient of Best of Show Award as part of Larson Gallery’s 42nd National Juried Photography Exhibition on view through April 20, 2024. Larson Gallery is located in Yakima, WA.

In April, Marianne will travel to the opening of the 2024 Members’ Juried Exhibition on view April 20 – June 2, 2024 at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, CA.

Image of Marianne McCoy taken at PCNW

Alumni Association Update

What is the Alumni Association and who is a member? The PCNW Alumni Association includes and is for all graduates of the Certificate in Fine Art Photography. We have a volunteer leadership committee that seeks to deepen the connection between Alumni, current Certificate Students, and PCNW, and explore ways in which we can further support, elevate, and celebrate one another.

Are you a graduate who is interested in getting more involved? We intend to renew the committee on a regular basis, with new members, and think this group can lead some great initiatives. Reach out to us at alumni@pcnw.org if you’re interested in joining the leadership committee, have ideas to help foster connection and professional development, or if you’d like to support upcoming initiatives.

Are you an alum with an upcoming exhibition, book launch, lecture, portfolio review, or other event that you’d like us to feature in a future Alumni Newsletter and/or on the PCNW Alumni page? Tell us about what you’re up to by completing the Alumni Survey Form or e-mail us at alumni@pcnw.org.

Posting on Instagram? Add another hashtag to your work: #pcnwalumni

Thank you to our current volunteer leadership committee members: Lisa Ahlberg, Gwen Emminger, Jenny Hansen Das, Andy Holton, Janet Politte, Matt Ragen, Anna Ream, and Al Varady. Our new Chairperson is Gwen Emminger.

Additional thanks to the alumni who contributed to making this issue of the newsletter happen, especially: Lisa Ahlberg, Jennifer Brendicke, and Joan Dinkelspiel.

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