About


 

Nancy

Nancy Medwell has been creating fine art black and white portraiture for over twenty years, capturing defining moments for families and individuals.   Nancy specializes in capturing beautifully composed yet intimate moments. Each portrait tells a story, reflecting the moment while simultaneously remaining contemporary.  She prefers the nostalgia of black and white: “it’s more timeless and classic…and very emotional.”
Nancy received her first  camera when she was thirteen. She quickly began taking art-quality photos and never looked back. Today while based in the Seattle area, Nancy travels extensively to work with clients in and around their homes or on location to create treasured heirlooms that will remain in their families for generations.
All of Nancy’s images are created using old-style film and darkroom techniques that are becoming increasingly treasured in this digital age. Her husband, Carlo Scanagatta an Italian textile artist prints archival silver gelatin photographs on a range of fine art papers and they encourages clients to frame them as they would any other piece of art, creating  “the fine art of family for the home.” Clients cherish Nancy’s photos and the narrative that they create for years to come.

Photo session
My motivation as a photographer comes from meeting people right where they are, at a given hour, on a given day. Photo sessions last about an hour and a half, and most often take place in the comfort of a client’s home or in the yard in natural light so everyone feels at ease.
Rather than simply capturing a fixed portrait, I wait for an authentic connection that is visible, tangible–an individual or families’ pure joy or sorrow or love. Through acceptance, observation, listening and laughter, even the most chaotic situations result in an experience conducive to moments of deep connection, allowing us to create beautiful images together.
My photos are not about me and my art, and they are not about perfection. They are about people connecting in authentic ways. They are my gift to the people I work with, a touchstone for tomorrow.
I would love to speak with you personally to share more about my work and to arrange a session for you and your family
Inspirational
ANAMCARA Gaelic word for soul companion.
Our most treasured possessions are often images of family. As a portrait photographer for 26 years, I have been privileged to create images that document the honesty and affection that my subjects bring to their daily lives. A personal experience with a life threatening illness had a profound effect on me, awakening me to my life’s work; connecting emotionally with individuals who are terminally ill and allowing them the opportunity to record their lives with their dearest ones.
I feel blessed to be a photographer and offer my gift: rendering that moment of connection in a beautiful silver print, a permanent keepsake to be passed on to future generations, and initiate meaningful conversations about the circle of life. Throughout our lives, it is the quality of affection that we give and receive each day that remains in our hearts and minds forever.
My work in this area has shown me the enormous therapeutic value in recording the intimate moments at a time in our lives when physical affection and emotional intimacy promote healing and acceptance. Only through honoring and respecting people’s differences can I begin to reveal their authentic and unique character.
I begin each session by sharing stories and getting to know one another so that we can establish a level of trust. I approach each situation without expectations or ego and stay present in the moment. The level of connection which unfolds during our time together, usually one and a half hours, is mysterious for there is a magic that occurs that feels gleeful and miraculous, a contagious energy that I intend to share with others through my photographs and stories.
My vision is larger than just what is seen in print. I envision a future where dying is embraced as part of living and care of the dying is an integral part of family and community life. Where children are unafraid to be caretakers, accompanying their parents through the journey of dying with grace and dignity. My passion is to inspire you not just to die well, but to live differently- to accept, forgive, embrace, laugh, and communicate love every day. Relationships are the soul of my work and the center of my life.
My intention is to continue providing a valuable experience to patients and families, a soothing and joyful opportunity to open up a door on affection and remembrance, as well as stimulate introspection on life. Also, to conduct transformational presentations, using a new format for professional in the health care industry, inspiring them to meet their patients person to person and accompany them with awareness of the depths of a pain that has its healing power within itself. To reach their souls through the invisible power of my photographs inspiring them to embrace the mystery of death and prioritize their time to truly care for each other.

Testimonials
◊ Nancy is warm, funny and put me so at ease that the photos look more like me than any I’ve ever had taken. Every one of them was a keeper. She’s got the heart and got the technicals. I highly recommend her.
Vicki Robin
Seattle, WA.
◊ Thank you for sharing your gift, and for being so patient, gentle and generous about it. I remember how you seemed to have a sixth (or even seventh!) sense for what might work, what to say, what to encourage, what to counsel, during our session.You sensed immediately how to connect with our then-2 year old.
Soscha Antal Gilbert
Seattle, WA.
◊ Nancy has a magical way of putting all living things at ease, which is why her photographs capture the essence of my family. Before our most recent session with Nancy, my teenage daughters were in high gear and my husband was less-than thrilled to pose for photos. Within about three minutes Nancy had us calm, engaged, and happy to be together to create special memories. Especially touching was that Nancy included our very old dog Molly in a number of the photos; Molly passed away a few days later and we feel so lucky to have her with us in our photographs. Nancy is a treasure and we are blessed to count her as the curator of our family’s love.
Michelle Marchant
Seattle, WA.
◊ Nancy has a unique gift for drawing out the essence of a relationship between two people and capturing it on film. As the shutter snapped Nancy encouraged my mom and I to talk about what we admired about each other, and what our most meaningful memories together were. I can’t ever remember a time when we spoke so openly. Sitting here looking at the photograph on my desk the power of that moment floods back and I see the way my mom looked at me when she spoke. Although it has been a year now since that day it still brings tears to my eyes. Nancy created the space for our emotional reconnection, and her photographs help me remember in a way that I draw strength from.
Alissa Johnson
Seattle, WA.
◊ Nancy has an extraordinary gift to find joy and grace in the small, everyday events that make up a life. Her photographs are timeless in their ability to capture the essence of a moment. Her deep respect for young and old comes through in every frame.
Cheryl Scott, Senior Advisor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Seattle,WA.
◊ Nancy has an immense capacity to meet people where they are. When they are with her, people open up easily and are (to their surprise), able to express their deepest and most spiritual selves. Very often through Nancy’s work, her subjects are startled to see themselves reflected back in such a deep and personal way. Nancy’s portraiture is intimate in the very best sense of the word—she is able to create a place or moment for those deep connections and step out of the way. In doing this, she reveals the best connections between people in their most important relationships: mother and babies, partners, children and their parents, friends…
She often appears to be listening to some transcendent and intangible force—and then she makes a picture that captures that. Her photography speaks for itself and will enable you to better understand the process! Her encounters with her clients and friends are positive experiences that go far beyond her work.
Tessa Keating Rothrock
Seattle, WA.
◊ Her ability to quickly connect with people and to create an intimate environment has always left me a bit spell bound. I have witnessed Nancy’s approach many times and I have asked her on more than one occasion “how do you do that?” I always get the same genuine response, “I really love what I do and feel a purpose in it”. These words have resonated in me and from them I have learned that when passion meets purpose…the magic happens. It is in this approach along with her talent that I believe to be Nancy’s winning combination!
Kathryn Thurman
Orcas Island, WA.
◊ Nancy Medwell entered into our family in the saddest of times. On a moment’s notice Nancy flew to be with our family as we were preparing to say good-bye to our dear friend the Rev. Renee Riley. With compassion, sensitivity, understanding and generous amounts of her personal time Nancy was able to capture untold love in her photos of Renee, her husband and young children.Nancy intuitively connected with the Riley family, their values and the deep emotions present in these final stages of Renee’s life. For a lifetime we will all be grateful to Nancy and the beautiful memories she captured.
Mary Ellen Johnson
Palo Alto, CA.
◊ For those fortunate enough to be either the subject or the viewer of Nancy’s portraiture, the photographs are not merely a moment frozen in time, butportals through which [you] peer into the human heart and spirit. I’m glad to have been with her on location recently as she took my patient’s photo for “Portraits of Healing.” The expectation that I would see something wonderful unfold was met. I enjoyed seeing how intentionally, yet effortlessly she worked composing the shot, listening to and observing everyone assembled. It was obvious to me she was in her element—in the “zone,” as she went about her work, not unlike a painter prepping canvas. I saw for myself how aware she was of relational nuances, making the patient and [her] loved ones feel at home in their skin; creating sacred space. I looked on in admiration and recognition—Nancy’s work, much like mine, is about mindfulness and presence. Nancy’s artfulness invites what Mystics call “contemplative gaze”—drawing attention, changing perception of place and time, so remarkable relationship as well as beautiful visual images emerge…
Maggie Finley
Chaplain, Providence Hospice of Seattle
◊ Grammy was able to see people’s life through their eyes and sympathize. The picture of her looking into my eyes really speaks to this aspect of her personality. She was so comfortable during the photo shoot, and in the pictures her proud smile is a reminder of her true courage (during her battle with cancer).
Katrina
Seattle, WA.
◊ I first met Nancy Medwell in July 1996. My 36 year-old wife, Wendy, had just been told by her doctors that, because of advanced breast cancer, she had only two months to live. Friends of ours offered to have Nancy come to our house and take photographs of Wendy, me, and our two young children.
It is hard to express in words just how meaningful a gift this turned out to be. The photographs that Nancy took captured the intense love and affection, and some of the desperation we were feeling at the time. Nancy has a real talent for bringing out the poignancy and emotions of such a situation. To this day, almost eight years later, I still have photographs from that session on the shelf in the family den and on the desk in my study. I also included one in a collage of photographs of Wendy that hangs outside my kids’ bedrooms. We all derive great comfort from having these images be a daily part of our lives. Although painful at first, they have helped us to grieve and to heal over time. My daughter Sarah was two years old when Wendy died, and she has no independent memories of her mom. Nancy’s photographs help to define Sarah’s image of Wendy as she grows up. Also, unlike most of our family photos that were taken by either Wendy or me,Nancy’s photographs offer to both of my kids an image of Wendy and me together, expressing clear love and tenderness for each other and for them.
I believe that the project on which Nancy has embarked can provide valuable therapeutic benefit to people of all ages dealing with the loss of a loved one. It certainly has done so for my family. I am happy to endorse her efforts.
Philip S. Morse, Esq.
Senior Vice President, Administration
Nintendo of America Inc.
◊ As soon as I called Nancy to talk about my Senior Portraits, I immediately felt a warm connection with her that other photographers lacked. Nancy expressed how she wanted to capture my personality and energy in the photos. What I loved is that she left it to me to determine how my photos turned out. By allowing me to pick a meaningful location and express myself in the photos, her artistic abilities reflected me as an individual.
On the day of our session, after meeting one another, we explored a beautiful garden and just had fun together. She would make suggestions about lighting and angles, but I never felt I was being forced into unnatural poses.Nancy’s wonderful and charismatic personality made me come to life. As I looked over the portraits she developed, it was so fun to reflect on the time we spent together. In addition to my senior photo, my parents held on to some other “gems” captured in our session. Being photographed by Nancy is a wonderful experience and her black-and-white portraits are visually stunning. I know my family and I will only enjoy her portraits of me, at a significant stage in my life, more and more as time goes on. I am so pleased I chose Nancy for my portrait session.
Magnus,
Seattle,WA.