About Kathy Fridstein

As a young child, I spent hours watching my father develop and print our family photographs. I stood mesmerized as I watched images of birthday parties and family trips slowly emerge on the white paper floating in a tray filled with an odd-smelling chemical. This was my initiation into the magic of photography.

Raised just outside Chicago, I began taking my own photos around age 8, mostly during family vacations. Every summer, my parents piled my three siblings and me into our station wagon for a camping trip, often in the Western and Southwestern U.S. It was these trips that cemented my awe and respect for the vast beauty of the American landscape and sparked my lifelong interest in using photography to explore the intimate relationship between ourselves and the environment.

As a college student, I studied art and sociology at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. There, I began noticing and photographing weathered city walls, extracting the written marks and decaying surfaces, and presenting these marks as poetic abstractions.

Upon graduation, I moved to Seattle and continued to grow as an artist. I joined a collaborative art studio and continued photographing walls—focusing on graffiti, old advertising and decaying surfaces.

A few years later, I received my MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with an emphasis in photography. I then returned to the Northwest, where I began a 25-year career of teaching and showing my art. My work has been widely exhibited at regional and national venues, including the Seattle Art Museum, where it was prominently featured in a three-person show “Altered Images.” My work is also included in numerous public art collections, including the 1% Washington Public Art Purchase, University of Washington Medical Center, and the Seattle Public Utilities Purchase.

All my life experiences have influenced what and how I photograph, with each new development building on the last.

On a trip to New Mexico, I discovered petroglyphs, which for me presented the same visual impact as walls covered with graffiti. This led to my continued interest in using petroglyphs, as well as other pictorial languages, in my work.

On a trip to England, I discovered stone circles, sparking my ongoing work of photographing stones and relics around the world, exploring the relationship between our knowledge of ruins in their original state and how the ruins appear in their surroundings today.

After a trip photographing Mayan ruins, I visited Fort Worden in Port Townsend. The remnants of the Fort’s bunkers in such a beautiful landscape reminded me of being in a Mayan ruin. This began my current project of photographing Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, and Fort Casey, with the intent of capturing the abandoned forts entwined with their rich landscape while bringing to mind the vision of fortresses filled with American soldiers prepared to defend the Puget Sound.

For a while, I took a leave from exhibiting my art, focusing instead on my family, teaching, and running my full-service design firm, aftertheimage. But, I never quit my travels and photographing. Recently, my husband and I moved from Seattle to Port Townsend, a beautiful coastal town with a vibrant art community on the Olympic Peninsula. I’m now settled in my new studio and actively working to bring my images into the fine art world. In the middle of a pandemic, with the beach, the woods, and Fort Worden almost in my backyard, I am focusing on photographing my surrounding landscape, hoping my images shed light on our intimate relationship with our environment.

A complete resume can be downloaded here: Kathy Fridstein CV

Selected Exhibitions, Publications, Collections and Professional Experience


North Bend Library, North Bend, WA (One person show)


Federal Way Library, Federal Way, WA (One person show)


University Child Development School, Seattle, WA


Union Bay Cafe, Seattle, WA (One person show)


Union Bay Cafe, Seattle, WA (One person show)


Union Bay Cafe, Seattle, WA (One person show)


ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL (One person show)


Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, WA (One person show)


Art Center Gallery, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA (One person show)


Seattle Art Museum, Altered Images, Seattle, WA (Three person show) (Curatorial Statement)

Eighteenth Floor Gallery, Pacific Northwest Bell, Seattle, WA (Two person show)


And/Or Gallery, Walls/Nests, Seattle, WA (Two person show)

Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA (Two person show)

Equivalents Gallery, Seattle, WA (Two person show)

Camerawork, San Francisco, CA (Two person show)


Photocopia, Bellingham, WA (One person show)

Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA (Juried) (Solo Show Award)


PTSA Grover Gallery, Print Night, Port Townsend, WA (Juried)


Northwind Arts Center, Small Expresssions 19, Port Townsend, WA
(Juried) (Merit Award) (Curatorial Statement)

Mighty Tieton Warehouse, 10×10x10xTieton, Tieton, WA (Juried)

Northwind Arts Center, Beach Art Virtual Exhibit, Port Townsend, WA (Juried)

Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, Seattle Public Utilities Fresh Perspectives 2020, Seattle, WA
(Group show of new acquisitions)


Mighty Tieton Warehouse, 10x10x10xTieton, Tieton, WA (Juried)


Pacific Lutheran University Gallery, Design Marks, Belltown, Seattle, WA (Temporary Installation)


Pacific Lutheran University Gallery, Digital Imagination, Tacoma, WA

Pacific Lutheran University Gallery, Faculty Show, Tacoma, WA


Bank of America Gallery, The Bush School Legacy in the Arts 1924 to 2000, Seattle, WA


Pacific Lutheran University Gallery, Faculty Show, Tacoma, WA

Pacific Lutheran University Gallery, Photographic Currents, Tacoma, WA


Pacific Lutheran University Gallery, Women Working in the Media Arts, Tacoma, WA


Key Tower, Seattle, WA


Center on Contemporary Art, Northwest Annual, Seattle, WA (Juried) (Award, Best of Show)

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL, Camera Obscura/Obscura Camera,
Betty Rymer Gallery, Chicago, IL (Juried)


Bellevue Art Museum, Pacific Northwest Annual, Bellevue, WA. (Juried)


Seattle Center Modern Art Pavillion, Art Works For AIDS, Seattle, WA (Juried) (Catalogue)


Northwest Annual, Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA (Juried)

Index Gallery, Toward a Personal Language: Narrative Images by Northwest Photographers,
Clark College, Vancouver, WA

Tacoma Art Museum, 100 Years of Washington Photography: Selected Artists, Tacoma, WA

Sheehan Gallery, Layers of Form, Layers of Meaning: The Manipulated Photograph,
Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

Cliff Michel Gallery, Photo Salon ‘88, Seattle, WA

Bumbershoot Festival, Open House, Seattle Center, Seattle, WA (Juried)

Center on Contemporary Art, Neo York/Seattle, Seattle, WA (Catalogue)


Equivalents Gallery, Seattle, WA

Sun Valley Center Gallery, Interiors, A Northwest Women’s Invitational, Ketchum, ID


Aspen Center for the Visual Arts, Students from the Center of the Eye, Aspen, CO (Catalogue)


Equivalents Gallery, Seattle, WA


Randolph Street Gallery, Working Drawings, Chicago, IL

Osaka College Photographic Gallery, Osaka, Japan

Still Lights Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

Beloit College, Beloit, WI

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Last Photo Show Before the Lake, Chicago, IL


Cheney Cowles Museum, Eighteen Spokane, WA (Catalogue)

Open Space Gallery, Seattle Invitational, Victoria, British Columbia

Henry Gallery, Images: Artists/Machines, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (Catalogue)


Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA

Equivalents Gallery, Seattle, WA


Seattle Portable Works Collection

Washington State Art in Public Places purchases:

West Seattle High School, Seattle, WA

Pasco Senior High School, Pasco, WA

Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom, Lakewood, WA

Sunnyslope Elementary, Port Orchard, WA

David Wolfley Elementary, Kingston, WA

Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, WA

Central Washington State University, Ellensburg, WA

University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA

Continental Mortgage and Savings, Seattle, WA

Foster, Pepper and Riviera Attorneys at Law, Seattle, WA

Pension Analyst Inc., New York, NY

Gordon and Einstein Attorneys at Law, Chicago, IL


Northwind Arts Center, Small Expressions 19, Port Townsend, WA (Merit Award) (Curatorial Statement)


Seattle Times, Diversity on Display at COCA, Matthew Kangas, Jan. 27, 1994


Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Bellevue Art Museum’s Pacific Northwest Annual, Regina Hackett, July 24, 1992


Seattle Art Museum, Altered Images, Seattle, WA (Three person show) (Curatorial Statement)


Aspen Center for the Visual Arts, Students from the Center of the Eye, Aspen CO, (Catalogue)


Cheney Cowles Museum, Eighteen, Spokane, WA (Catalogue)


Henry Gallery, Images: Artists/Machines, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (Catalogue)


aftertheimage, Seattle, WA

Principal and creative director of full service design firm, services include branding, print and digital design, and photography.

Creative Fusion, University Child Development School, Seattle, WA

Visiting Artist teaching one week intensive art workshop to kids grades K-5th.

AIGA (Professional Design Association),

Board Member, Community Outreach Director
Established a partnership with other design organizations. Created avenues to elevate public awareness of AIGA. Set up initial connections for AIGA to fundraise for other organizations.

AIA Seattle Design Festival

Member of the general planning committee for inaugural Seattle Design Festival, “Beneath the Surface”, Sept., 2011. Chairperson for AIGA’s participation in the Seattle Design Festival, “Design Marks”. Participating Designer in Seattle 2011 Design Festival creating Temporary Installation in the Belltown neighborhood.

The Bush School, Seattle, WA

Upper School Photography Instructor.


Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

Faculty position, teaching photography in the Art Department.
Sabbatical Replacement

Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington

Member of the Education Advisory Committee.

Northwest Regional SPE Conference

Moderator of Panel: The Fabricated Image.

King County Arts Commission, Seattle, WA

Member of panel allocating funds for various arts organizations.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Admissions Representative, West Coast

Tacoma Community College, Tacoma, WA

Photography instructor, Continuing Education

Highline Community College, Midway, WA

Photography instructor, Continuing Education

Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA

Faculty Position, teaching photography in the art department.
Sabbatical Replacement

Loop College, Chicago, IL

Photography instructor, Adult Education

Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Photography instructor, Adult Education

City of Seattle, “Artist-in-the-City” CETA Grant, Seattle, WA

Produced and installed exterior photographic murals for Public Art Project in an area undergoing extensive demolition and renovation.

Seattle Sun, A Weekly Newspaper

Staff Photographer


School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Emphasis in photography with video and painting


Beloit College, Beloit, WI
Double Major: Art/Sociology