"Early Native Americans called photographers, "Shadow Catchers", believing the black boxes they held caught their shadow, or spirit, for all time.  The first photographer famously given that name was a fellow Washingtonian and an early hero of mine, Edward S. Curtis of Seattle, Washington.  Many books and a few movies have been made about this driven, talented, inspiring and inspired photographer and his great contributions to history by his beautiful photographs.
                   Susan Parish, Owner
The SPC is a privately owned photographic archives containing negatives, photographs and photographic related materials dating back to the 1860's.  Ms. Parish, a native of Olympia, Washington, began making and collecting photographs as a child in the 1950's.

The SPC encompasses the full spectrum of the photographic medium, as well as materials and documents related to the history and process of this art and communication form as an important adjunct to its holdings.

These items not only document the natural and cultural landscape it also traces the entire history of photography including its aesthetic movements and technological advancements. Processes from Daguerreotypes, Salt Prints, Woodbury Types, Albumen Prints, Ambrotypes, Tintypes, Film and contemporary processes such as Digital Photography are represented. Contemporary color and black-and-white photographs, negative and transparencies—along with a selection of videotapes and films are held in this collection.

The SPC holdings reflect the central role photography plays in our image-based culture, both as an expressive medium and as a documentary record.
Our photos have the common themes associated with the historic Pacific Northwest. It's natural and cultural landscape well represented; i.e. logging and old growth forests, railroading, landscapes of shorelines and mountains, steam ships and tug boats, dusty main streets of emerging cities, portraits of Native Americans and other multi-cultural pioneers, recreational activities such as skiing, hiking, fishing, hunting, as well as many historical events of national note.
Although the backdrop of most images in the SPC are Washington State, there are photographs and their negatives from 23 other states in the union and over 35 countries. Including fine photographs of Alaska, including the Gold Rush and early steam boating; Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, California and even international locations such as; Africa, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Tahiti, France, Egypt and Spain.

And, while the entire collection illustrates the complex and varied history of the medium, its major areas of strength are in the modern and contemporary periods and in social and physical documentary photography.
Many of the photographers The Susan Parish Collection were very successful and well-respected professionals in their time; and some were passionate amateurs.  Their art is owned by private and corporate collectors around the world.   A couple of our most popular photographers’ are:  
Joseph Jeffers (1881-1924); Opal Jeffers (1885-1972); Vibert Jeffers (1905 - 1975)
This family business operated as a commercial, portrait and fine art, photographic studio in continuous operation in Olympia, WA from 1903 to 1973. Joe captured the excitement and early development of a new frontier. An avid adventurer, he died while on a photographic expedition in the Olympic Mts. and Jeffers Glacier on Mt. Olympus is named in his honor. His wife, Opal, working with help keep the studio going shooting portraits herself until their son, Vibert, who was with his father on this last trek, returned from school. When "Vibe" retired in 1973 the Jeffers family had left behind a legacy of approximately 500,000 negatives, including original prints. Much of Vibe's style came from his studies in Hollywood, CA in thirties. Subject matter is extensive. The hundreds of images of Washington’s State Capitol, its' events and people, including the construction of the beautiful Capitol Campus are an important part of their legacy.
MARY ROLAND MIRES (1865 - 1930)
Mary and family were pioneers in the Ellensburg area of Central Washington in the 1860’s. Mary was a serious, very talented artist. Her roles as housewife and mother are reflected in her photographs that include haunting portraits of family, friends, and local Native Americans. Her images are timeless, romantic, whimsical and sometimes experimental.
Mr. Junk photographed the South Puget Sound area for over 35 years from the late 1920’s into the 1960's. His work is in the photo documentary style.
"I am a visual person and have been an admirer and collector of photography my entire life ~ but the life altering decision to incorporate historic images and those by other photographers into my photography business came with the purchase of the Jeffers Studio Archives in 1982.  (see early video on collection).  
Recognizing the unusual talent of these forgotten Pacific Northwest artists and then discovering not only the importance but the urgency of uncovering and preserving photographs preservation became my calling. It gave a focus and a greater purpose to my work. And, so I began collecting as fast as I could afford to - as I was witnessing the rapid changes of my home region of the Pacific Northwest. I was fortunate to become well-known in my files and quickly became the repository of choice for others fearful photographs would be destroyed and lost forever.
Photographers capture moments that certainly help us capture time and photos of the past help us see through the windows of time and space and sometimes even into the spirits of those who preceded us.  Like time travel, these windows give us insight into other worlds that are different, yet in so many ways, the same.  Viewing them can be life changing."   ~ Susan Parish, Owner

I feel strongly that a community's history should be preserved and displayed in the places we visit each day to be enjoyed and comforted by and to learn from. I am very proud to be a third generation of the Southern Puget Sound and believe we need to do more to preserve and celebrate this unique cultural history. 
The sale of these photographic products allows me to continue to preserve this valuable collection and I thank you for your purchases.
- - - Ms. Parish has worked as a professional photographer, photojournalist; newspaper editor; Director of Visitor Services & Curator of Art at Washington’s Capitol, historian and tour creator for many historic properties among many other commissioned photography and history based projects. Prints from her collection are widely collected and greatly treasured as heirlooms.
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