Douglas Nielsen’s eye at the Center for Creative Photography

Spiral, 2004

Spiral, 2004

Ahh… the lives of the collectors! They surround themselves with great art while helping artists to continue to produce work. It is so fun to be in someone’s collection – especially someone as singular as Douglas Nielsen! I am honored to be in this exhibition. I know Douglas Nielsen through my Uncle Roy Blakey. Roy had photographed Doug many times as he was a dance and theatrical portrait photographer for over 25 years in New York City.

So when I moved to New York, to start my career as a photographer, I stayed with my uncle Roy on his couch, in his loft space on 6th Avenue and 23rd Street in New York City’s photo district. After 2 weeks of me tying up Roy’s phone line, people couldn’t call him for bookings, so he decided he had to find me a different place to stay. Roy turned to Doug Nielsen who was home only a small portion of the time as he spent his time traveling the world, creating dances and working with students all over the world. So Doug agreed to let me stay in his apartment on Lexington and 30th Street for a month while I searched for my first apartment in the city.

Doug’s art collection, even 30 years ago, was formidable. I felt as though I were living the good life, sleeping there and waking up making coffee amongst such treasures. So we are friends and I am forever grateful for his generosity.

Roy’s photograph of Divine is in this show and the curator selected two of my photos for the exhibit. Then my life-partner Michal Daniel is also in the show. What a blessing to see that Douglas’s vision has led to this huge private collection. Even more importantly, he plans on donating the collection to the Center for Creative Photography down the line! Amazing.

This Thursday Brian Clamp will be speaking on the collection. I met Brian years ago through Fotofest in Houston and then later he met Doug and they became friends as everyone loves Douglas and especially someone like Brian who knows art. The world is small. Sure wish I could be there for his talk!

One person can make a difference in the life of one person.

Keri Pickett

Keri Pickett is an author, photographer and filmmaker telling the stories of life, family and community with intimacy, honesty and impact. Pickett is Producer, Director and Camera for the award-winning feature documentary film ‘The Fabulous Ice Age’, about the rise and fall of the great American touring ice shows and one man’s quest to save the history, available on Netflix and Amazon. Her short film, 'Steel // Spirit' premiered at MSPIFF and won certificate of excellence in India. Her award-winning books include Love in the 90s; BB and Jo, The Story of a Lifelong Love, A Granddaughter’s Portrait (Warner Books, 1995); Faeries; Visions, Voices & Pretty Dresses (Aperture, 2000); Saving Body & Soul, The Mission of Mary Jo Copeland (WaterBrook, 2004). The recipient of a Jerome and Minnesota State Arts Board grants, three McKnight Foundation Photography fellowships, a National Endowment for the Arts award, and a Bush Foundation Fellow, Pickett’s work is in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.