Bea Nettles
American, born 1946
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

After Bea Nettles received a camera at the age of 10, her first subjects were her family members. Nettles continued to develop an autobiographical practice in her photography, which would come to characterize her career. She is an admirer of William Kentridge’s talent for creating storytelling montages and identifies an affinity in her pieces: “My work is generally narrative,” she says. “I enjoy playing one image off another.” Her “Return Trips” series (1990-99), comprised of images taken during her travels, is a notable example: each work presents a triptych of black-and-white photographs that make a band above a single larger black-and-white image—meant to be read as collective moments. Nettles also works with unconventional photographic presentations such as machine stitching or hand coloring her prints, publishing suites of photographs as decks of cards, or making photo books with …

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