Artist Biographies : Hiser, Cherie :
Cherie Hiser began her study of photography after completing graduate studies in psychology in Hawaii in 1963. Her first workshops at the Portland Art Museum were with master teachers Minor White, Ruth Bernhard and Imogen Cunningham. She became impassioned with the medium and has become an internationally known artist, teacher, and “Photographic Evangelist”.
After moving to Aspen, Colorado in the mid 60’s to teach skiing, she worked as a newspaper photographer and married colleague David Hiser, who was soon to become a National Geographic photographer. In 1969 she founded The Center of the Eye in Apsen, one of the first and finest photography facilities in the country, which gained an international reputation as an alternative educational community in the arts. Through the barrage of prominent photographers who came to teach and participating students of those workshops, many of today’s finest artists and photographers are alumni of the Center of the Eye. In 1973, Cherie and her friend and neighbor, Paul Soldner, "the Minor White of clay", developed a joint program of photography and ceramics through an invitation from the Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass, Colorado. Both Paul and Cherie have continued their association with the Anderson Ranch, including attending and celebrating it’s 25th anniversary of continuing inspiration.
Hiser served on Ansel Adams Friends of Photography Board of Trustees in Carmel, California for five years. Ansel recommended she become the first Director of Photography for the new Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities in Idaho in 1974. She was responsible for designing the photography building and programs, fundraising, establishing a photography gallery, fulfilling the role of curator of the private collection and teaching.
From Sun Valley, Cherie went to Santa Fe, New Mexico to establish the Center of the Eye Collaborative and Gallery on Canyon Road. The center stayed active for some years after Ms. Hiser had returned to her hometown of Portland, Oregon in 1978. She is a third generation “Portlander” and began teaching photography at the college level as well as embarking on a career as a professional Mental health Therapist, working predominately in hospital psychiatric units before retiring as a Psychiatric Assessment Specialist in 2001.
In 1996, responding to a yearning to leave the “corporate setting” and embrace community again, Hiser founded PhotoWorks NorthWest, Inc. (PWNW). The PWNW was a non-profit community for photographers in Portland, a “god-child of the Center of the Eye’. The 2400 sq ft facility included darkrooms, studio, and gallery, resource center, meeting space and workshops for members and their guests.
In the fall of 2000, Photo Americas, Inc. a non-profit organization with an international orientation, and new to the Pacific Northwest, occupied the PWNW facilities. Cherie Hiser has been a Trustee of Photo Americas (now called Photo Lucida) since its inception and establishment in Portland in 1999, and has served as Chairperson of the Fine Art Auction in both 2000 and 2001, and is a frequent reviewer.
During 1997-1998, Hiser was one of the twenty semi-finalists in the United States for the 1998 Humanitarian Photographer of the Year Award. She is in demand as a curator, juror, consultant, teacher, innovator and visionary. She has exhibited and published her work and taught at universities, workshops, hotel lobbies and campsites throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe for more than three decades.
In January of 2000, Cherie was diagnosed with a neurological disorder, which seemingly changed all life plans and goals. The healing process is on –going and challenging. During long months at home she began photographing her beloved pet doves and pigeons, constant companions for forty years. This transformational experience offered her a new perspective and the opportunity and enthusiastic commitment to concentrate on her life’s work in photography. This last series is named “Birds of Pray” #1, 2000-2006.
Cherie Hiser has been described as “one of the most vital persons of our time” by Cornell Capa, Director of the international Center of Photography in New York. Now in her sixth decade, she truly is an “emerging photographer’.
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