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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Bea Nettles

Dates:  1946 -
Born:  US, FL, Gainesville
Active:  US
American photographer, printer and fine art bookmaker.

Preparing biographies

Biography provided by Focal Press 
Nettles spent the first twenty years of her life in Florida — a fact that has motivated and influenced much of her personal art and self-published books, although the true inspiration for her has been her family and experiences as a daughter, wife, and mother. Nettles got her degree (BFA, 1968) at the University of Florida, working with Robert Fichter and Uelsmann (but majoring in painting/printmaking). Her MFA degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (where she has taught since 1984), was more photographic with mixed media. She has said her work is about "themes of loss and hope" (Tucker, The Woman’s Eye, 1973). Many titles of books and series also reveal a sense of humor and we might assume that hope wins out in the end. For almost four decades she has used snapshots, plastic camera images, alternative processes, the physicality of mirrors, plastic, thread, and fabric to construct art objects. Nettles’ work was selected by Peter Bunnell to be in an influential exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Photography Into Sculpture in 1970. When she began teaching in Rochester, New York, in the 1970s, she produced many modest books (privately published by Inky Press). The first of these was Events in the Water (1973). In most of her work, usually accompanied by suggestive titles, Nettles has made use of family snapshots, self-portraits, and references to the stages of the life cycle to create metaphors and designate archetypal vehicles for her view of what really matters. Her reputation in the field is generally acknowledged to be equally important as an educator at Rochester Institute of Technology (1976–1984) and at the University of Illinois. She has also published a technical "recipe" book on alternative photographic processes. 
(Author: Ken White - Rochester Institute of Technology) 
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 

Further research

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Bea Nettles
Bea Nettles in her studio 
2011 (or earlier)
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Visual indexes

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Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 

Internet biographies

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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
• Hoy, Anne H. 1987 Fabrications: Staged, Altered and Appropriated Photographs (New York: Abbeville) p.192 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.201-202 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 
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