Nigel Poor lives and works in the Bay Area. Her work has been shown at many institutions including, The San Jose Museum of Art, Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, Friends of Photography, SF Camerawork, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and the Haines Gallery in San Francisco. Her work can be found in many collections including the SFMOMA, the M.H. deYoung Museum, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. She received her BA from Bennington College and her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art.
For many years her work has explored the various ways people make a mark and leave behind evidence of their existence. She is interested in forms of portraiture and explores this vastly mined photographic area through unconventional mean; using fingerprints and hands, objects people have thrown out, human hair, dirt, dryer lint and dead insects as indexical markers of human presence and experience. Her work explores the troubling question of how to document life and what is worthy of preservation.
In 2011 Nigel’s interest in investigating the marks people leave behind led her to San Quentin State Prison where she taught history of photography classes for the Prison University Project. This experience changed the focus of her practice and the visual presentation of her ideas. She has since moved away from being a solely visual artist working alone in the studio and 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. She is a Co-Founder and Co-Managing Producer of the San Quentin Prison Report Radio Project (SQPR). In 2014 SQPR was presented with an Award of Excellence from the Society for Professional Journalism for “highlighting the stories of a prison community that outsiders rarely hear, including stories not only told from within the prison, but also produced by inmates.” And in 2015 Nigel was the recipient of A Blade of Grass Fellowship for her work with the SQPR radio project.
Nigel Poor is a Professor of Photography at California State University, Sacramento, and a member of the Bay Area photo collective Library Candy.