Image credit: Jennifer Zwick
The Photographic Center NW > Blog

An Interview with Richard K. Kent

Richard K. Kent is an exhibiting artist in PCNW’s 23rd annual juried exhibition, curated by Kris Graves.


New Holland & Franklin, 1st Series, 5X, Lancaster, PA
from the series “Lessons in Recursion,” 2014/15
Archival pigment print
Film capture (medium format)
Edition of 15
$1200
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.

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

I was born and raised in Bethlehem, PA. It still surprises me that I ended up having an academic career at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA—less than two hours from where I grew up.

I discovered black & white photography (pre-digital photography) in high school, and it became a primary activity and probably helped me survive the boarding school I attended. At Oberlin College, I continued making photographs, but at that time photography wasn’t offered as part of the studio art curriculum. Consequently, in my twenties and thirties I developed as a photographer pretty much on my own and by means of trial and error. During the years after college, alongside making pictures, I was steadily writing poems and occasionally publishing them. Photography and writing have been intertwined throughout my life.

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

New Holland & Franklin, 1st Series, 5X belongs to the large series “Lessons in Recursion.” Pictures from this city site in Lancaster, PA, differ from those made elsewhere at mostly rural locations because I appropriated an empty metal frame that presumably once contained a sign. Into the frame, I tie a glossy photograph of the prior iteration with its surrounding scene. Once the inserted image is tied in place and the camera positioned on the tripod, I let whatever activity occurring on the street or in the background enter the new exposures. As at other sites, successive visits yield subsequent iterations.

By lucky happenstance, this picture contains an unplanned allusion to one of the most famous early images in photographic history.

I made eight iterations when the metal frame stood, tethered to a nearby pole, in the place with its view down the street seen in the picture. Then, for reasons unknown to me, the frame was moved to face the expanse of an adjacent parking lot. I began a new series of iterations entitled, “New Holland & Franklin, 2nd Series”. I continue to make exposures, though the metal frame, an index itself of passing time, has lost most of its red paint and is only partially intact. 

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

“Lessons in Recursion” concerns place, time, and how introducing a recursive image of a scene alters our perception of ordinary landscape. One could say I’m interested in sanctifying the commonplace; and I admit to taking considerable delight in inserting a kind of visual marvel into places where people don’t expect such a thing. The recursive sequences I create at various sites intensify the visual dimension of time and become, in most cases, small installations available to passersby.

The series mostly involves photographing blank wooden signs—often where messages of “No Trespassing” once had been—discovered by chance along roadsides and then methodically re-photographing their images to create recursive progressions. The interior images of the repeated sign offer the viewer glimpses of past time and the transformation of place. My practice is to work at a site until it is no longer possible to do so (i.e., the wooden sign that served as the support for the recursive iterations vanishes or is destroyed).

The series’ exhibition prints are generated from scanned color positives (6X7cm transparencies) that are then digitally processed. Lessons in Recursion, in both subject matter and the means used to produce the final prints in color, differs from earlier series of pictures in black and white. It nevertheless reflects an abiding interest in the subject of ordinary landscape, the theme of temporal change, and the potential complexity of photographic representation.

My hope is to see the series eventually published as a book.

Who / what are your biggest influences?

I regard the study of English literature as an undergraduate and later the study of Asian cultural history (especially Buddhist thought) in graduate school as central to my making pictures. It took decades, though, for all the pieces of this puzzle to coalesce into something I now can appropriately call a photographic practice.

Since I usually work in long series of pictures that can continue for more than a decade, I have looked to other photographers who have done likewise. Photographers such as Emmet Gowin, Robert Adams, and Frank Gohlke have been a source of inspiration for work I have done about landscape and place. For more conceptual series that involved a certain amount of staging, I drew inspiration from the work of Abelardo Morell and Hiroshi Sugimoto. But I also have taken important cues from many other photographers whose work continues to have meaning for me–photographers as diverse as Eugėne Atget, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Mike Disfarmer.

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

For many years I’ve been documenting a 72-acre, public tract of woods near my home. It’s a fragile eco-system that increasingly is hemmed in by development and often subject to acts of vandalism. Now, during the current pandemic, it’s become a refuge for families who are visiting the woods and its trails for the first time. While I’ve been documenting some of the messages that these new visitors leave behind (kids’ chalk drawings in the parking lot or small rocks with uplifting messages left discreetly along several trails on Easter), I’ve found myself driven to track the blossoming of wild cherry trees along a less-known path, where my wife and I walk to avoid the now more frequented trails. Despite my long familiarity with the park, where I walk almost daily, I’d never realized there were so many stray flowering trees scattered throughout the woods. It is as if I’ve discovered a whole new dimension of the woods’ ecology. And, though it may sound old-fashioned, perhaps what most fuels my interest lies in finding a kind of hope in the sheer beauty of such spring blossoming during this time colored by worry or grief for so many.

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?

I submit work to juried exhibitions when the organizing institution and the juror strike me as highly reputable. Of course, one never can tell whether one’s work will prevail, especially because there’s a lot of good work being made. One has to be persistent and know that rejection is part of the experience. I’ve been fortunate to make work that answers an inner imperative but need not rely on it as a source of a livelihood.

An Interview with Peter Baker

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


Building for the People of the United States of America (Quality You Can Taste), Los Angeles, 2015
Archival pigment print
Edition 2/5
$3500
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.

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

My name is Peter Baker and I’m from The Bronx, New York. I really began photographing because I wanted to get out of my immediate neighborhood and explore the vastness of New York City. Having a camera allows you to go out into the world alone with no real reason. The first photographer’s work that really resonated with me was Berenice Abbott. I found a book of hers called Changing New York. I am interested in how cities change and photographing urban spaces that have an invisible history and unknowable future. She made complex, descriptive images of the city. There is a physicality to her work that I continue to relate to. 

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

The image selected for the show is called Building for the People of the United States of America (Quality You Can Taste), Los Angeles. The first part of the title was taken from a sign I saw advertising for the building under construction that you can see in the reflection of the image. It’s the new Los Angeles Federal Courthouse. I took the language of that sign as an ironic metaphor. Downtown Los Angeles has been undergoing a building boom but the reality is that it’s a boom for a certain class of people, and it further alienates the existing community, and especially the large homeless population. That building, now fully functioning, is an emblem of power and progress, guarded with armed security and surveillance. Everything about it is meant to keep people away. The man drinking from the water fountain is wearing an In-N-Out t-shirt that reads Quality You Can Taste, which I found interesting since he’s literally tasting the city’s water. He is surrounded by glass and is doubled in the reflection. Like much of my work, it’s an image about progress, about the present and the future, and the interplay of the physical and psychological. Then there are also the balloons. Like a party has ended. 

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

Yes, this is from an ongoing body of work under the working title “Current Treatment” and a future book called A Confrontation, Los Angeles. The work deals with urban space and its consequences. Most of downtown Los Angeles is private property that guises itself and continues to encroach on public space. I find this to be both bizarre and concerning, with psychological and physical consequences. The whole of downtown begins to feel more like a film set, an illusion of a city, rather than a city itself. And yet at the same time some very stark human and socio-economic realities play out in these spaces. This is the terrain I work within. 

Who / what are your biggest influences?

The most integral influence on my photographic work has always been reading fiction. I think about writers like Don DeLillo and JG Ballard. They both find ways to confront reality through fiction, and I think photography can do that as well. They are the people I would want to show my work to. There are many photographers I have studied and admire, especially Garry Winogrand, Jeff Wall, Luigi Ghirri, to name a few.  

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

I have used this time mostly to go through images and print in my studio. But I have gone out to photograph, yes. In many ways, my work is about a kind of social-distancing without the pandemic. When I am out in downtown LA or many other cities I see most people are distant from one another even within the same physical proximity. It’s a fundamental part of my work. 

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?

PCNW looked like a cool place and I was looking forward to visiting Seattle for the opening because I really enjoy the city and region! Hope to see you there when things open up again.

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
$900
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org 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.

An Interview with Lisa Ahlberg

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


C Rob, Lead Mechanic, from the series “On the Wing Line,” 2019
Archival pigment print
$400
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.



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

I was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent most of my childhood in a small town called Stillwater, Minnesota. I have been an airplane inspector and structures mechanic for over 20 years at Boeing. Working backwards from that I’ve been a photographer, gardener, floral arranger, truck assembler, textile machine operator, garment worker sewing swimsuits, terry cloth robes, women’s coats, women’s skirts and neck ties, knitting machine operator, sports jacket embroiderer and peanut factory packer. For many years, I was involved in the struggles of working people, unionists and family farmers. These experiences have always informed my work. I have little interest in celebrity culture. I am an industrial worker myself and it is working people I most turn to with my camera. 

I graduated from the Photographic Center Northwest. From 2009 – 2015, I served as a member of its Board of Directors and I continue to be an active member of the community of photographers it serves.

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

This image is from my “On the Wing Line” series, a series of portraits of those I know from the factory floor of Boeing.  Some of them, like C Rob have been part of my life and routine for years. 

Charles Robinson started working at Boeing in 1989 and is now a team lead of mechanics and in his words is, “working with the younger generation encouraging them the value of building the best airplanes for the future to come”. He was born and raised in New Jersey. He said “my mother is and always will be the most significant person of my life. She raised eleven children on her own and kept us all together”.  C Rob joined the army as a young man and ended up at Fort Lewis. Later he was hired at Boeing.

I always knew C Rob was a fancy dresser. A factory is not the place for that. We wear jeans, sweats, leggings or company issued coveralls. But occasionally I would get glimpses of him leaving work all dressed up — ready to catch a plane to go out East to see family or to go golfing. He’d bring in clothes on hangers. He did not disappoint for this portrait. He chose the location as well as his wardrobe. That’s what I like about this series. None of us are defined only by our jobs. I want people to see the human beings I work with in the factory.

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

For 14 years I’ve worked on the Wing line in Renton, WA. We building the basic structure of the 737 wing. Up until recently, the factory pace was demanding. The pounding, drilling and blasting of horns were deafeningly loud. We worked hard at a fast pace. Some of us think the pace was too fast. 

These are dark days for Boeing. Of course production is temporarily completely shut down now due to the Covid 19 virus. But even prior to that, it was eerily quiet for those of us left on the assembly line in Renton due to the suspension of the 737 MAX. Production was suspended after two devastating crashes killing all 346 people aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.  Many of my friends and coworkers were sent north to Boeing’s Everett plant and were working on other planes. We waited for the FAA and international regulators to determine if the Boeing Co. has made sufficient changes necessary to make the 737 MAX safe. Now it seems everything is on hold.

When we get past this moment, there’s a lot of work ahead before trust will be rebuilt. For some it won’t be. Lives were lost due to a series of conscious decisions that put profits before the safety of the airplane. No one wanted or expected this outcome. But still, decisions were made.

These portraits are part of a series that includes some of the people important to me over the years of working on the factory floor.  As I begin to plan for my own retirement, from the life of working a variety of factory jobs, I both can’t wait to get out of there and also fear the loss of relationships and social connections that have been a vital part of my life. Our work is a huge part of our lives. It can, in part, define who were are and how we see ourselves. But we are also more.

Who / what are your biggest influences? 

I have been most influenced by outstanding photographers such as Diane Arbus, Mike Disfarmer, Roy DeCarava, Milton Rogovin and Seydou Keita, artists who have all produced revealing portraits that capture a certain place and time as well as the dignity of their subjects.

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

I’m laid-off and staying at home. I photograph on my daily walks with my dog Sonny. But I’m mostly trying to stay at home and resist the urge to go out and interact with others. So, while I am shooting some I am not working on a body of work that I’d like to share.

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?

When I consider submitting an entry, I mostly think about the organization that is sponsoring the call and the juror. I submit rarely. I responded to PCNW’s call because it is my community and I care about PCNW’s survival. Entering is not cheap, so I enter where the money I give means something to me. And, of course, I look to see who the juror might be. Is it someone that will even be interested in my portraiture?

An Interview with Laurent Chevalier

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


Untitled (Iles De Madeleine), 2017
Digital C-print
Film capture (medium format)
Edition 1/2
$850
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.

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

My name is Laurent Chevalier, and I actually grew up right here in the great northwest, attending University of Washington for College. I now live in Brooklyn, New York. My first intro to photography was via a photography history class in college in 2003, and since then I began teaching and exploring the practice myself. In the last about 7 years I began to be more focused on developing my practice and creating the body of work I am here to create. 

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

This image was taken on the west coast of Africa, on an Island just outside of Dakar. This was my first trip to the continent, and I found myself considering my own relationship to this place. I even wondered how close I got to a piece of my own ancestral home, considering Senegal’s French colonization and my own lineage through my family in formerly French Louisiana. Where counts as home, and even if a place is home, what does that mean? Home can be a place of refuge and rest, but it is also often where our brokenness begins. These were some of the thoughts on my mind as I made images on the 10 days my wife and I were in Dakar.

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

When initially shot, I was creating in order to explore the space I found myself in, and to explore my mindset at the time. Since creating that group of images, I started collecting some images from that trip with other images from travels to Martha’s Vineyard, for a series currently titled “Between Two Shores”. This series is about the relationship between time and space, and how identity, specifically Black American identity, is a spectrum and amalgamation of experiences.

Who / what are your biggest influences?

My greatest inspiration right now is Roy Decarava. Although this image is shot in color, I usually shoot in black and white, so DeCarava’s work speaks to me greatly in that way. I also am publishing a photobook that is inspired by his book with Langston Hughes. DeCarava’s subtleness with his use of shadows, and the tenderness that came across in the images is tremendously inspirational. Other influences are Lorna Simpson’s growing and expansion of her practice, with the camera as sort of a foundation. Robert Frank is also a huge inspiration, in how he worked to capture the essence contained in a moment, with all its imperfections and perspective.

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

In most ways, I am just trying to take this pandemic a day at a time, and not focusing on being sure I’m making work. In those day to day moments however, I find myself needing to explore where my mind is, and I have been making self portraits to keep track of that.

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? 

I have been very excited for the proper opportunity to show work of mine in my home state. The energy and foundation I received growing up in Washington is certainly foundational to my approach to my art practice now. That coupled with the opportunity to have work selected by Kris Graves at such a location as yours was perfect.

An Interview with Judith Stenneken

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


Untitled #1, 2012
Archival pigment print
Edition 4/5
 $1800
Courtesy of Marshall Contemporary
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.




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

I am a visual artist working in photography and video. I grew up in northern Germany, not far from Denmark and close to both the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. I loved growing up in close proximity to waters, with long walks in cool winds. It grounds you. Photography does the same for me. I discovered it in my mid-twenties, when I had to go through a rough patch in my life. I found peace in the observation and focus required to take a good image…and I got hooked. 

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

The image is a self-portrait. I played with capturing body parts and this one stood out. I like how the arm and hand seem to flow alongside the shape of the body, framing it, but also holding on to it. Another important player in this image is the negative space: on first sight, it almost seems the arm floats in space, detached from the body. I like this interplay of connection and disconnection. 

Personally, it is a hard image for me to look at. I have an ambiguous relationship to my hands. As long as I can recall they have always looked like the hands of an old women. Hiding them became a habit and yet some days I think of them as old wise souls, here to teach me something. 

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

The image is part of my project “ILLUMINATE NATURALLY IN DARKNESS.” In it I use images of the journey, the voyager and transitory spaces (like hotel rooms) as metaphors to describe transition as the sole constant in life and in-betweenness as the only state of being. The concepts of ‘departure’ and ‘arrival’ dissolve as the traveler keeps moving – a gravity to constant change. The voyager’s home becomes the hotel room and the airplane. Spaces to pause but never to dwell.

I think we are in a phase in which change happens at an accelerating pace. It can leave one dizzy, disoriented and overwhelmed at times – like a loss of control. I think the acceleration of change forces us out of our comfort zones, out of our habits and into adjustments. It forces us to re-act. Coevally it offers a chance to embrace core conditions of life that we usually prefer to ignore: impermanence and uncertainty. This is where Illuminate Naturally In Darkness lives. It asks – how can we embrace this uncertainty? How can we accept living with change?

Who / what are your biggest influences?

It’s hard to single out particular influences. To me it’s one big ocean of influences: the people I meet, the books I read, the conversations I have. They all mingle, interact and hopefully lead to interesting questions and ideas. To favor one or two over the rest would only speak to the amounts not included. That being said, I am happy to share two books I am currently re-reading: Carlo Rovelli’s ’Seven Brief Lessons of Physics’ and ’The Order of Time’.

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

I see an overlap between the current situation and my new body of work ~a mountain is only a slow wave~, which I have been working on since 2016. It deals with our individual and societal potential for adaptability in times of change. When I started this project I was thinking about adaptability due to technology’s role in changing our lives rapidly. There is a good chance that Covid-19 is not necessarily shifting the direction we are moving towards, but instead is an accelerator and therefore a potential eye-opener as to what works and what doesn’t in an interconnected, interdependent, world-wide community that we are. We understand that now, the fact that we are truly interconnected. My actions can literally influence if you live or die and vice versa. If anything, this moment teaches us about the responsibility we have for each other. If we use this moment right, it can be a chance for us to ask ‘how’ we want to live together, what shape our interconnectedness should take. 

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?

The community aspect has become more important to me over the years. Of course, I am happy to be able to show my work. But as importantly, I love the fact that my participation can help support your programs, which in return help people learn about photography and be encouraged to explore their own creativity. In particular, I am a fan of the variety of scholarships PCNW is offering to young people who do not always have the means to follow their dreams, and I appreciate that you help with that.

An Interview with Jennifer Zwick

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


Floating Bouquet, 2019
Archival pigment print
Edition 2/10
$1500
Courtesy of J. Rinehart Gallery
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.




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

Hello! I am a well-meaning multimedia visual artist, currently social distancing in Seattle. Because I like making things in a wide variety of ways, majoring in photography was a good choice since I could make anything at all, and as long as the end result was a photograph, it counted as homework.  

Photography allows for a tightly controlled view of a scene or an object. You can create something which only needs to exist for a fraction of a second, and only has to make sense from the specific vantage point of the camera. This is a very interesting set of parameters to work within, because fragile materials or strange situations can be inhabited by the viewer for far longer than they would otherwise last. I love making things (narratives, objects, etc) that look impossible, but were actually built quite simply. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of how it feels when you realize your brain and your eyes are oversimplifying what you see, getting things just a teeny bit wrong – when you piece apart an optical illusion, so you “get the joke”, and then willfully reconstruct it again – how it keeps working, keeps tricking your mind, even though you know how it’s done.

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

Floating Bouquet exploits how the brain is hard-wired to experience photography’s flat representations of three-dimensional objects as still being three-dimensional. To make this image, I printed a photograph of a bouquet of tulips, mounted it on foam core, and cut out the background. I elevated it slightly over a seamless backdrop, then hung a strawberry from some filament. By lighting the image from above, the rephotographed bouquet has what almost appears to be a drop-shadow photoshop effect, but is in fact just its actual shadow. The strawberry’s shadow and placement create a relationship with the lowest tulip, and the subtle shine of its filament serves as a clue to how this deliberately confusing image was built.

Who / what are your biggest influences?

Some of the artists I’m drawn to right now are: Jorge Luis Borges, Charles Mudede, Haley Morris-Cafiero’s “The Bully Pulpit,” Joseph Park’s Prizmism work, Josef Albers, Jenny Riffle, Claire Cowie, Duane Michals, Jenny Heishman.

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

Like everyone who has young children, I am all of a sudden a homeschool teacher. Then, after school, I’m a parent! I have two kids, ages 5 and 9, and they’re wonderful and weird, but they aren’t conducive to hand-placing thousands of flowers, or large-scale set-based construction, or any number of projects that require more than a few seconds of steady concentration. Especially my constantly inquisitive 5-year old, who never runs out of questions or “helpful” suggestions on what I’m doing. Honestly, I’ve come up with so many project ideas that would be fun to do with them, but I find that this constant caregiving, all day every day, leaves me too tired to be clever with my own art. So that’s on hold for now! However, if you have kids or if you just like coloring, I’ve made some pretty fun coloring books over the years that I encourage you to download and print.  They can be found on my website in the “Social Distancing Content” section (https://jenniferzwick.com/).

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?

I’m beyond proud to be a part of this show! I have applied many, many times to PCNW’s Juried Exhibitions and this is the first time I’ve been accepted. Sometimes I feel like my catchphrase is “Jenny Zwick: I’m Still Here!”. Rejection is a normal part of any art form, and while I wholeheartedly embrace failure (much of my work is about failure, like https://jenniferzwick.com/works/the-builder and https://jenniferzwick.com/works/what-might-go-wrong and https://jenniferzwick.com/works/you-are-a-disappointment-to-yourself-and-others and https://jenniferzwick.com/works/bed-dress and https://jenniferzwick.com/works/it-will-never-get-better and https://jenniferzwick.com/works/self-portrait-with-raccoon), I still (shockingly) prefer the alternative. I wasn’t going to give up on applying because PCNW is such an exciting place across the board. Their exhibitions are fascinating, and the staff are exactly the kind of photo-obsessed people you’d want to learn from. My first lighting class was at PCNW, taught by “world’s best Bill Finger,” as I think of him, and I recently took a class from genius supermodel Kiliii Yuyan, who demystified drone photography in an approachable yet detailed way. So I say: always keep applying, and absolutely take a class from PCNW, because in doing so, you’re investing in yourself, and you are worthwhile.

An Interview with Clinton Chambers

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


Sangre de Cristo Mountains, 2014
Digital C-print
Digital capture
Edition 2/4
$900
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.


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

I grew up in Colorado but spent most of my adult life in the Pacific Northwest area.

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

My current artistic practice centers around creating images that depict my most cherished memories. These memories are constructed using common objects and materials that when photographed represent an idealized if not romanticized version of that experience. My approach to photography stems from a road trip from Washington to South Dakota that I embarked on with my closest friend in 2008. I relied on photography to document and imbue meaning on our travels. However, at the end of this road-trip my film was unintentionally destroyed. The sense of loss was so profound that it inspired my motivation for creating photographs that represent the past rather than obstructing my ability to experience fulfillment in the present. After that experience, I no longer viewed photography as a documentary device but rather an artistic tool used to create a perspective of the world that I felt I had lost. This body of work is an ongoing exploration of my memories.

Who / what are your biggest influences?

My most prominent influences are Walter Benjamin’s “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” which enabled me to cultivate a vocabulary for the work I was making. Benjamin’s essay gave me language to describe what I have been trying to permeate into my photographs. To me, the concept of an “aura”, is achieved when an image transcends beyond a latent memory and resonates with a more encompassing emotion such as loss or wonderment. I strive to create images that are signifiers of the emotions. My intention is to create work that embodies this central theme yet is still accessible within multiple iterations of the idea. The photographs of Hiroshi Sugimoto, Uta Barth, and Jeff Wall are also important influences on my aesthetic choices. Attached are some of the images that I have been making in isolation to further this ongoing concept. 

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

Yes! Check it out:

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