The Susan Parish Collection of Photography

     My interest in photography started as a child as it was my father's hobby and I started by using his 2 1/4 and obtained my first camera, which I still have, by sending in cereal box tops in 1958. My first photos were of my family and then friends at Tumwater grade school and it eventually becaming my professional vocation in 1975.  
     Collecting photography began in earnest in the early 1980's when I discovered that many local photography archives were regularly destroyed. My interest in history however, didn't begin until I started printing from Jeffers Studio archives that I bought in 1982.
the collection contains...
     My collection contains original negatives, positives, prints, and many other related materials dating back to the 1870's and encompasses the full spectrum of the photographic medium related to the history of photography - both as art and as communication
     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 photographs were made within the Puget Sound region of the State of Washington there are many of other areas of the state and photographs from thirty-five other states and from over twenty countries via my database.
A LIFE IN PHOTOGRAPHY ~ JourneyS OF A Shadow Catcher
   It was While working on the history of Early Women Legislators of Washington State in 1980 for an Elected Washington Women's project called "political Pioneers" that I was shocked to discover 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 material and were thrown out.
     And, that the state of Washington itself had no facility for securing state 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 and created hundreds of displays in the capitol and beyond for many years.
    A life's mission of preservation and education honoring the photographers and their art and using photography to teach history of this far corner began and will continue as long as I am able.
   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.
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.  
I created Shadow Catchers TV in 2006 when I realized the opportunities to easily share my projects to a greater audience with the advent of digital movie making. I ALSO missed the storytelling inherent in photojournalism.  Completed movies are available by request and I make new ones on contract.
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