THE COLLECTION HISTORY, MY APPROACH & INTENTIONS
Ken Burns's films have shown us all the value of Visuals in History education. and now as American history is becoming more inclusive old photographs are playing vital role and necessary for this continuing exploration of the truth beyond historical writings. Historical photographs reveal the truth of history. What would we know about time past and the people ~ without photographs of that past? Only what some wanted us to believe? We've witnessed the dangers of only reading or hearing from the most prominent and loudest voices.
every picture truly tells a myriad of stories And may answer questions about ourselves, others, and our environment - that we have not yet even asked.
My collection contains original negatives, positives, prints, and many other related materials dating back to the 1870s and encompasses the full spectrum of the photographic medium related to the history of photography - both as art and as a communication form.
Subject Matter is extensive ~ with the common themes associated with the Pacific Northwest and its natural and cultural landscape well represented in beautiful landscapes, seascapes, soaring mountains, old-growth forests, and the forest product and seafood industries, transportation methods including steamboats, steamships, tugboats, railroading ~ and the dusty main streets of emerging cities. of special note ~ portraits of indigenous Native Americans, multi-cultural pioneers and their unending struggles to 'tame' the wilderness. And all the diverse outdoor recreational activities such as skiing, hiking, fishing, and hunting, as well as the many historical events that are of also of national importance.
While most of the collection photographs were made within the Puget Sound region of the State of Washington there are many photographs of the Salish Sea, Alaska, and the Pacific Rim partner, Japan. there are many photos of other regions of the state, particularly Central Washington as there are photographs from thirty-five other states in the union and from over twenty countries.
A LIFE IN PHOTOGRAPHY ~ JourneyS OF A Shadow Catcher
I began making and collecting photographs as a child in the 1950s and have been a working professional in the fields of communications and the humanities - since 1975.
It was While working on the history of Early Women Legislators of Washington in 1980 for an Elected Washington Women project discovering and telling the stories of our women's political Pioneers' I located not only their photographs I created a statewide traveling display. during this project, I was shocked to discover not only the Jeffers Art Studio Archives - but, that the holdings of many older photographic studios were regularly destroyed and their negatives and glass plates not considered, at that time, to be 'primary' resource materials and were thrown away by locals and even libraries and museums. and, that the state of Washington itself had no facility for Photographic Archives in place. I went on to promote and assist in creating the WA state Archives Photography Division while working at the Washington State Legislature during the 1980's and 1990's.
Seeing the quickly passing away of a way of life in the PNW that I had known and loved ~ my life's mission of preservation and education honoring the photographers, their art and using this means of visual communication to learn our 'true' history began and continues to this day.
A MOVIE made in 1984 ABOUT SAVING A COMMUNITY'S LEGACY ~ Susan Parish & THE JEFFERS COLLECTION of OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON
I created Shadow Catchers in 1992 as the distributor of photographic based products using images Licensed from The Susan Parish Collection of Photography, I created in 1982 because I wanted to separate the photo archives from the commercial end. I needed to make money to take care of the collection I was building. Link to Shadow Catchers