Shadow Catchers

Historic, Modern, Contemporary Photographs since 1992

A Privately held Photography Archive based in Washington State located in the Pacific Northwest region of the united states of America.  It is the largest privately owned photographic archive of this region containing tens of thousands of original negatives, photographs and related materials dating back to the 1860's.  ​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​ ~ Susan Parish is Owner & Curator ~ 
Ms. Parish, born Susan Plantenberg, born in Olympia, Washington, is a multi-generational native of the southern Puget Sound region of Washington State.  She began making and collecting photographs as a child in the 1950's and has been a working professional in the fields of communications and the humanities - specializing in photography - since 1975.  While working on the history of Early Women Legislators of Washington in 1980, she discovered that photographs of old photographic studios were regularly destroyed, and the state of Washington had no Photographic Archives in place.  Seeing the passing of a way of life in the PNW ~ Her life's mission of preservation and education honoring the photographers, their art and teaching using visual communication began and continues to this day.
​​​​​​​The SPC reflects and celebrates the vital role photography plays in our image-based culture as a communication tool, an expressive medium, as primary documentary records and of course, as artistic expressions of the photographers. 
The SPC encompasses the full spectrum of the photographic medium including materials and documents related to the history and process of this communication and art form as an important adjunct to its holdings tracing the entire history of photography including its aesthetic movements and technological advancements as an asset for the community and future generations.  ​​​​​​​
The SPC documents the natural and cultural landscape reflecting parish's curatorial tenet that "photographic objects are invaluable to the study of the environmental and cultural history and must be preserved as future generations will continue to study them to discover and share histories yet untold - or, erroneously taught in the past."
While the full collection illustrates a complex and varied history, its major areas of strength are within the dates 1914 – 1970.
Although most photographs contained in the SPC are of Washington State, there are photographs and negatives taken in twenty other states and twelve other countries.  Included are photographs of Alaska, including the Gold Rush era, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, California, etc. and Africa, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Tahiti, France, Italy, an​​​​​​​d Spain. And the photography of over one hundred photographers.
the Subject Matter of images within the SPC is extensive ~ with the common themes associated with the Pacific Northwest; its natural environmental and cultural landscape is well represented as built environments and archaeological heritage form an important learning tool and provide beautiful artwork for just pure enjoyment.
pristine landscapes showing old growth forests and logging, railroading, seascapes and soaring mountains, steam ships and tugboats, dusty main streets of emerging cities, portraits of native Americans and multi-cultural pioneers.  recreational activities such as skiing, hiking, fishing, hunting, as well as many historical events of national note.

Shadow Catchers is the sole distributor of photographic based products using images from The Susan Parish Collection of Photography.
Parish in early darkroom, 1994 by Carl Cook
Parish in early darkroom, 1994 by Carl Cook
Parish in Olympia Studio, 1984. Photo by Carl Cook
Parish in Olympia Studio, 1984. Photo by Carl Cook
Parish on Photo Shoot for Weyerhaeuser Timber Co., 1994
Parish on Photo Shoot for Weyerhaeuser Timber Co., 1994
Parish with boxes of negatives, 1995
Parish with boxes of negatives, 1995
One box of 85 contained in the Jeffers Studio Portrait Collection now located at Washington State Archives.
One box of 85 contained in the Jeffers Studio Portrait Collection now located at Washington State Archives.
Shooting video on location on Columbia River, 1996
Shooting video on location on Columbia River, 1996
On tugboat for Harbor Days with Ernie Brooks, famous underwater photographer and Director of Brooks Institute
On tugboat for Harbor Days with Ernie Brooks, famous underwater photographer and Director of Brooks Institute
Parish with photos during Olympia Artswalk, 2009
Parish with photos during Olympia Artswalk, 2009
Parish in Shadow Catchers Gallery and Studio, Olympia 2000
Parish in Shadow Catchers Gallery and Studio, Olympia 2000
Back to Top