Photographer Deborah Mills Thackrey was born in the Texas Panhandle town of Amarillo in 1953. Numerous childhood trips along old Route
66 thru the Southwest instilled in her a wanderlust and a love ofthe passing scenery including dramatic sunsets, old motel signs, roadside attractions, the Navajo indian reservation, Burma Shave signs, and the desert landscapes of National Parks such as the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, and the Grand Canyon.

Iconic imagery from the Vietnam War and 60’s cultural protests inspired in her a love of the ability of the photojournalist to capture a meaningful moment in time. She joined her junior high yearbook staff in order to get her hands on her first camera. As the only photographer in high school journalism class she was left alone in the darkroom to develop her skills. This put her on the path of being self-taught and independent most of her career.

Thackrey migrated to San Francisco at the age of 20, unable to get into fine art classes at San Francisco State, she studied theatrical design. The influence of her makeup and costume design is visible in her projected nudes series. In the next phase of her life she began a career as a graphic designer which gave her an opportunity to work art-directing top commercial photographers at major corporations such as Apple.

She spent 30 years studying modern dance with a student of seminal modern dance pioneer Lester Horton. Recent projects include a third
collaboration with dancer lshika Seth at the Theatre Yugen in San Francisco projecting her textural photographs and videos onto dancers
who improvise to the content of the images.

When her husband Tom returned to photography about a decade ago, she picked up a camera again as well, after more than a 20 year
absence. They spent time in the esteemed photographic community of Carmel beginning friendships with photographers such as Edward
Weston’s grandson Kim. Within a couple of years of serious immersion in photography, Thackrey was offered her first solo exhibit in
Monterey at the Stefani Esta Gallery in 2002. She began to regularly win prizes in juried shows with curators such as Philip Linhares from the Oakland Museum and the Triton Museum’s George Rivera. Solo exhibits in Los Angeles and Palo Alto followed, as well as being included in more than 50 group shows ranging from the Texas Photographic Society, to galleries in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Monterey.

Thackrey won the coveted 2009 Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowship Grant for Photography which included a show in the rotunda of Santa Clara’s Triton Museum. Her work is in private collections from New York to LA and Marin County and in corporate collections such as Adobe.

Corporate and Private Collections include

-Adobe purchased 5 prints for their permanent collection
-Karen and Dan Pritzker purchased 7 prints
- Charlene and Dave Weiner, Woodstock, NY
-Ollie Dwiggins (former costume designer with Edith Head), Carmel, CA
-Lance Guest & Danna Hyams, Los Angeles and NYC
-Rick Kugler, San Francisco
- Jim Kasson, Carmel
- Deb and Perry Goetz, San Jose
-Craig and Andrea Firpo, San Francisco
-Gary Blumsack, theatre producer, Los Angeles
-Michael Spencer, Tucson, AZ
-Luis Gutierrez, painter, Los Gatos, CA
- Gallerists Ken Ball and Victoria Whyte-Ball

Juror and artist Helen Golden’s comments on Deborah Mills Thackrey’s work: “This imaginative and innovative photograph stands out as both a personal and universal statement. The skillful composition works technically, and the elements of color, line and pattern are in total harmony. The repeated and rhythmic curved forms create a mysterious mood and invite the viewer to ask questions about what is happening.
It is a creative success because it manages to be emotionally satisfying at the same time that it is challenging and provocative. This is like the heartbeat of the image, and it goes beyond technical competence as it gets to the essence of what a visual statement is about.”

resume (word)

resume (pdf)


Petroleum Paradox: For Better or For Worse? (2012)

Deborah Mills Thackrey

Manhole Cover, Woodstock NY

Manhole Cover, Woodstock NY, 2008

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