Kelli Pennington is a photographer, educator, and curator living in Portland, Oregon. An avid traveler and observer, Kelli teaches photography with lessons rooted in the belief that as we frame a photograph, so to can we frame the relationship that we have to our own existence. She earned her MFA from Syracuse University in 2010. A founding member of Small Talk Collective, formed in Portland, Oregon in 2015, Small Talk is comprised of seven women, who explore the nature of what it means to be a visual storyteller.



It is the silence and the stillness of a captured moment that intrigues me—the richness of embedded meaning and the ability of a frozen moment to mesmerize as well as repel. It is in pursuit of these moments that I choose photography as my medium of expression. I am drawn to the essential qualities of photographic practice—the impossibility of captured time and space, as well as the shared experience of our memories and moments as such I, investigate our human compulsion to document and map.

From the series, Liminal © Kelli Pennington

When and where did these projects begin?

I started Liminal in 2003 after relocating to Albuquerque, NM to live with my sister during her freshman year of college. During this time I started to photograph my life and myself intimately on a daily basis. Both Lost in This World and Void of Course are viewed as successive chapters in this series. Void of Course represents the continuation of the dramatic wanderer, someone who feels at home on the road and yet remains searching for a greater purpose. For this series each of the images is a handmade platinum print.

Void of Course


Where do you see these projects going?

Liminal is ongoing, the other projects have been completed. Void of Course is still being printed in its entirety due to the handmade nature of each print.

Lost in This World


What helps you sustain your current creative practice?

I teach photography at Portland Community College. I love teaching and yet find the challenges of academia and the lack of accountability on student loan debt to be disheartening. I am a member of Small Talk Collective, a group of 7 female photographers. The group helps keep me on my toes, keeps me creating and discussing photography outside the classroom.

From the series, Lost in this World © Kelli Pennington

What’s next for you?

Small Talk Collective just finished our latest show Rumors and our first publication we're always touching by underground wires is almost sold out. Personally, I'm looking forward to being in the studio all summer and announcing the big plans in the Fall.