Selected Press



“Plumb astutely translates the fragile climate of the 1980s into visual form, but it is the similarities between the anxiety of that bygone era and those of today that make Landfall such an exceptionally intelligent piece of work. Uncanny parallels can be drawn between the palpable tensions of both periods and as well as the coincidental appointment of two television presidents; it seems that little has shifted in the undertone of humanity where we appear fixed in a constant state of uncertainty.” Kris Kozlowki Moore


“Mimi Plumb’s brilliant photographs from the 1980s lay fallow in her archive until she began work with the team at TBW Books. Threading diverse narratives through a complex collage of Carver-esque storytelling, this is the kind of book I love — where the quality of the photographs are primary but the book-making skills take the whole project to a level which will connect to entirely new audiences. The themes of anxiety and dystopian angst resonate across the decades and seem entirely apposite in our contemporary world.” Michael Mack


The photos of the house were among the first that Plumb would take for her series Dark Days, which will be published this summer by TBW Books in a collection titled Landfall. The series includes black-and-white photographs of San Francisco landscapes, portraits of children, and pictures of friends and strangers, often “in odd and disquieting poses, seeking to describe the sense of discomfort I saw both in myself and in my community.” It was the 1980s, a time when Plumb felt the anxieties of a world spinning out of balance. Concerns about global warming, civil wars in the Middle East and Central America, and the AIDS epidemic came to define her life and the lives of many others.


The San Francisco Foundation announced today that Christina Seely of Norwich, VT, Nicholas Muellner of Spencer, NY, and Mimi Plumb of Berkeley, CA are the recipients of the 2017 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship. The annual award is given to emerging artists who exhibit professional accomplishment, serious artistic commitment, and financial need in the field of creative photography.

7 Breakthrough Artists to Discover at the 2018 AIPAD Photography show,

“Mimi’s ‘Dark Days’ series continues to be relevant today because it forces us to realize how little has changed since she first photographed these moments,” says gallerist Karen Jenkins-Johnson. “The 1980s were a dark period in American history, plagued by hyperinflation, the AIDS epidemic, the Gulf War, an under-performing stock market, and the election of a former movie star as president. Today, global warming, a war in the Middle East, and the election of a reality TV star to the presidency have all contributed to a feeling of discomfort and unease, characteristic of the social and political climate from thirty years ago.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES - Labor and Love in California's Farmlands, by Randy Archibold. April 18, 2016, 

"Her (Plumb's) images now form the basis of “Democracy in the Fields: The Summer of 1975,” a new website two years in the making that, under the auspices of California Humanities, serves as a multimedia album of photographs, audio clips and text telling the story of that summer through the people in the pictures. Ms. Pawel contributed research and helped to identify many of the people in Ms. Plumb’s images. Wendy Vissar, a photographer and web designer, pulled the elements together into a vivid, enduring chronicle and testimonial of the time.

“I had never really seen photos like hers,” Ms. Pawel said. “She had a different eye and a different focus and intuitively focused on the farmworkers as opposed to the leadership of the movement, and that made her photos really different.”

BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY, SEPTEMBER 2015 by Stephen McLaren, Cover Story, California Redux

“By the time she was in her mid-20s, Mimi Plumb turned her attention to the suburbs that were spreading out into the hillsides around Berkeley and Oakland. These pictures that she describes as being the landscapes of her childhood have remained untouched for more than 30 years and only recently has she been able to put together an edit called What is Remembered. It’s not hard to discern the influence of Robert Frank and Henry Wessel in these images, shot in the full beam of the California sunshine, but the sensibility on display is not of someone passing through, but from someone who knows the locale intimately. Occasionally, we find images of gawky teenagers hanging out, and these portraits remind us that the photographer was a young woman herself who identified with the listlessness and ennui of growing up in the burbs.

“Ann Jastrab, who has watched with interest as Plumb brings her archive to public view after all these years, is a big fan... “People like Garry Winogrand and great street shooters of the era: well, Mimi’s work holds up to theirs, but it still has a very feminine eye, that sensibility. There is something really raw about her pictures.”


"It was the land of Spielbergian half-finished subdivisions, sun-baked strip malls, Ed Ruscha's Standard gas stations, sullen kids looking for trouble on their dirt bikes. It's all there, in "What Is Remembered," with both immediacy and a palpable listlessness.

CONVEYOR MAGAZINE, DARK MATTER, ISSUE #4, DECEMBER 2012, The End or Something Like It, Essay by Mark Alice Durant, Photographs by Mimi Plumb,

“...Mimi Plumb--she was a California girl but not in the way The Beach Boys defined it. Her photographs of the Western landscape and its inhabitants seemed to barely contain the sharp anger of her politics. Yet her images were funny too, and smart about how they extended and challenged the idea of West Coast photography.

“...In Mimi Plumb’s photographs from the 1980s the utopic California is long gone, replaced by random detritus and slow motion entropy.”

THE OAKLAND TRIBUNE, MARCH 4, 1986, by Charles Shere, Lead Art Critic

“The three winners of the James Phelan Art Award in photography are currently showing at SF Camerawork, and that show is worth attention.

“Mimi Plumb shows some extraordinarily strong images -- simple, but strong -- confronting the viewer with heightened moments: an enigmatic spiral graffiti on a rock seen quite close, a huge empty desert beyond; an ordinary beach scene made memorable by a jumping boy, a face like profile in a rock, a purposeful but irrelevant figure in the foreground. Plumb-Chambers is a major find.”

James D. Phelan Art Award Photography, February 11-March 8
Jurors: Larry Sultan and Eileen Cowin
Award Recipients: Mimi Plumb, Leland Rice and Tia Snyder-Resleure

The jurors (Larry Sultan and Eileen Cowin) comment on the selection process... “There was an enormous range of quality and experience reflected in the work. We looked at the work of friends, colleagues and students and relied on each other’s judgment when confronted with those difficult situations.

“Certain work just kept floating to the top. We chose out of our interests and from our sense of what is strong and significant.”