Nancy Warner was born and raised in Nebraska.
Took first photographs with a Polaroid Swinger in 1968.
Dropped out of college, moved to Boston, spent a few years wandering the globe looking for a place to settle.
Met future husband on Valentia Island, one of Ireland’s westernmost points.
Drawn to the home of the beats and hippies. Arrived in SF in 1976.
Discovered the rich traditions of letterpress printing and fine-art photography in Northern California, and was motivated to learn both.
Began lifelong study and practice of photography: constructed pinhole cameras, exposed paper negatives, and contact printed in a closet darkroom; worked in 35mm color film.
Son born. During his early years, made thousands of Polaroid SX-70 photographs, honing a way of seeing.
Now partial to the square format, invested in a medium format Rolleiflex SLR and worked through Ansel Adams’ books on the zone system.
Studied with notable bay area photographers Jim Goldberg, Ruth Bernhard, Martha Casanave, Larry Sultan, Oliver Gagliani, and John Sexton. Influences: August Sander, Aaron Siskind, Richard Avedon.
Worked as an offset printer, graphic artist, book designer, technical illustrator, and book production manager; ran a book production service for ten years.
Set up first darkroom in 1984. Established a studio and darkroom in SF Chinatown in 1992. Moved to current studio and established portrait business in 1998.
Purchased first digital camera in 2003. Learned post-production processing skills with Photoshop and inkjet printers.
Photographic projects evolved from life experience:
Designed and produced a book for the Chinese Historical Society of America, then photographed in San Francisco Chinatown for 6 years. 1989 – 1995
Outside In: Interpretations of Chinatown series.
Visited family in Nebraska every year. Photographed neglected and abandoned farm houses in and around Cuming County. 2001–2007
Going Back; series led to book This Place, These People.
Son came out. Photographed Families, same sex couples with children. 2002–2005
Met Hedi Framm, an immigration lawyer. Collaborated with her on Asylum, portraits of LGBT individuals who sought asylum in the US. 2007–2010
Photographed antique books, letters, and notes found among family heirlooms. Tracked down more letters and documents from collectors in San Francisco. Paperwork series, 2010 – present
In an antique store in Kearney, Nebraska, came across a bag of letters received by Nebraskan schoolteacher Vivian Barnica in the 1920s. Vivian series, 2008 – present
Traveled to Nebraska with sociologist David Stark to collaborate on This Place, these People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains, a book of photographs that includes voices of Nebraska farm people, historical documents, and an essay about farm places. Published by Columbia University Press in November 2013. 2010 – 2013
Works as a fine-art and portrait photographer from her San Francisco Chinatown studio. Lives on Russian Hill with her husband.