Ken Light: Continuing the Documentary Tradition in the 21st Century

Over the last few years, Susie Katz, president and founder of PhotoWings, has been documenting the process behind Ken and Melanie Light’s Valley of Shadows and Dreams, their photographic and literary exploration of a region known for its agricultural plenty—and the marginalization of its people. Below is an excerpt from the first in a two part series from PhotoWings […]

Q & A with “Take Me to the River” editors Joell and Coke Hallowell

For ten years, Coke Hallowell and her daughter Joell asked people with deep connections to the San Joaquin, “What was your life like along the river?” With candor and enthusiasm, people responded. Take Me to the River recounts the many trials—damming, overpopulation, climate change—and triumphs that a river undergoes in our times. What was it […]

Down and Dirty in the Valley

In our last installment about the creation of the photo book, Valley of Shadows and Dreams, we were happy to announce the debut exhibition of the work at Umbrage Editions ( from March through May, 2012. Since then, our team has been slogging through the very unglamorous and painstaking work of preparing the photographs to […]

Valley of Shadows and Dreams: DUMBO, Spring shows, Las Posadas

Valley of Shadows and Dreams continues to march forward. Like the parents of a small child, we are preparing the manuscript to go out into the world. After gestating for several years as Ken and Melanie Light shaped the work, the project was essentially born during our get-together three weeks ago. The introduction by Thomas Steinbeck, the field notes […]

Project Update: Valley of Shadows and Dreams

Scheduled for publication in May 2012, our project about the Great Central Valley is coming together. With a working title of Valley of Shadows and Dreamsthe book explores this dynamic and important region, which is often difficult to capture. We know we are on the right track, though. Thomas Steinbeck (yes, the son of John […]

San Joaquin: Valley of Shadows and Dreams

One of the most moving, thought-provoking, and significant books we have under development is San Joaquin: Valley of Shadows and Dreams by Ken Light (photographer) and Melanie Light (author). Ken, a world-renowned documentary photographer, has been shooting black-and-white photos of the changing San Joaquin Valley as suburban development springs up on the world’s most fertile […]