Nigel Poor is a fine art photographer, a professor at California State University, Sacramento, and a member of the Bay Area photo collective Library Candy. She explores the troubling questions of how to document life and what is worthy of preservation. Poor’s early work captured the various commonplace ways that individuals leave their marks on the world, including fingerprints, stains, human hair, and dryer lint. In 2011, Poor’s driving question, “what is worthy of preservation?” led her to San Quentin State Prison to teach classes on the history of photography for the Prison University Project. This experience changed the focus of her practice and the visual presentation of her ideas. She now spends the majority of her “studio” time inside the prison working with a group of mostly lifers on photographic projects and producing radio stories about life inside via her radio show and podcast, Ear Hustle. Poor’s work has been shown at many institutions, including the San Jose Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Jose, Friends of Photography, SF Camerawork, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Haines Gallery in San Francisco.
Supported by the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) and U‑M Institute for the Humanities.
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