Guy Swanson

Photographic Image Gallery

From 1984-2006 I owned and operated the Photographic Image Gallery, showing a unique mix of fine art photographs, decorative photography and photographic posters.

When I opened there were only 12 galleries in Portland, and now there are dozens, maybe even tens of dozens.  We coordinated our gallery openings to create the initial  First Thursday event in 1985 and Portland now boasts Last Thursday, First Friday, Third Thursday and dozens of artist studio tours, as well as emerging neighborhood gallery districts.

In 1998 I was a Founding Board Member of Photo Lucida.  Today, under the direction of a dedicated group of photographers, the festival has attained an international reputation.

When I closed the Photographic Image Gallery in 2006 it was the longest operating retail Fine Art Photography Gallery in the Pacific Northwest.

History of the Photographic Image Gallery

Mission and Philosophy

Curator Guy Swanson

Each month I publish PHOTO HAPPENINGS an online newsletter of happenings in the Portland photography community. 

You can accesss current and past issues of Photo Happenings online here

I made two short films about Cherie Hiser about the Portland photography scene, Cherie Hiser Documentary Short and Cherie Hiser Film Short 2

For five years I served as a Docent at the Portland Art Museum, leading tours of the galleries of photography and modent art, and for six years taught a class at Portland Community College titled "Marketing Yourself as a Fine Art Photographer"

After stepping back from my gallery and museum commitments I started writing the Juniper Berry Notes, a personal writing blog about the history and country of middle Oregon. 

I have always had a nostalgic tie to the history of Oregon and a special draw to the Central Oregon area lower desert.

I soon realized that, at my core I am a basically a story-teller.  For twenty-three years I loved to introduce artists' visual stories to the world through exhibitions at the Gallery.  I decided I wanted to write a book, an untold story, one that needed to be told, and had been passed over by only lightly by other writers.  

  In 2013 I was visiting a pioneer cemetery in the Central Oregon desert and ran across Hope Nance.  She was born in 1917 in the town of Grandview, a community that had long since had fallen victim to scavengers, relic-hunters and curiosity seekers.  Nothing remained but gravestones and her stories.

She described to me a community of farmers and families, a school and a church, wheat fields to the horizon, and the Saturday night life at the Grange.   One day she will take her stories to the grave, joining over twenty relatives in the Grandview Cemetery.

This is the book that I wanted to write, and for over two years we have been meeting every month, going through personal memories and family photographs.  

It's a story with many twists and turns and a tribute to a woman who was born on a cold wooden floor and ended up with more than enough love to share with her fifty-six grandchildren.

It's still a ways from being done, but you can read a chapter here.


To read the full story of this journey, you can click here