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Kirsten Rian is an independent photography curator, visual artist, project & program manager, university professor, and writer. She has curated or coordinated more than 375 photography exhibitions internationally, and picture edited or written for over 80 books and catalogues. She is active in the international photography as well as book arts communities. Her consulting client base includes institutions and individual artists around the country. She is a sought after essayist for photography monographs and works with major international photography publishers and artists.

She is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist, working prolifically as a writer, painter, and installation artist, reflecting a commitment to community–both in her immediate orbit, as well as in the greater international context. Her most recent international exhibition was in Iceland and incorporated video, painting, words, and music. Her work with refugees and immigrants in war-torn communities and human trafficking survivors explores how storytelling and sharing through creative mediums often allows the hardest and most necessary aspects of human history and experience to be remembered, and in fact, honored. As a musician she has made 8 records, and acted as producer on others.

She is widely published as a journalist, essayist, and poet, and the author of three notable books. Her anthology of Sierra Leonean poets and their accounts of the civil war, Kalashnikov in the Sun (Pika Press), is in every classroom in Sierra Leone. Life Expectancy was released in 2018 by Redbat Books as part of their Pacific Northwest Writers Series. She was the author of the weekly column “The Alphabet of Light” for Daylight Magazine, was the poetry editor at The Oregonian newspaper, and is the recipient of numerous artist fellowships and grants.

Contact her at riankirsten – a t – gmail – dot- com

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Recent Projects & Writings

Excerpt from newest book Life Expectancy may be found under “Writing”

Life Expectancy is now available at any of the following:
Redbat Books
Broadway Books
Annie Bloom’s Books
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble













The Language of Logging, David Maisel monograph essay

Arthur Tress, digital story

Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni, War Dreams, Let Me In, digital story

Roger Ballen, Lines from Here to There, digital story!

Fazal Sheikh, Distillation, Alphabet of Light, digital story

Jess Dugan, Eye to Eye, digital story

Penelope Umbrico, Mountains, Moving, digital story

Jacqueline Hassink, Arab Domains, digital story

Alec Soth, Orlando, digital story

Huffington Post

The Night Stevie Ray Died, Portland Magazine

William Stafford Exhibit

Photo District News


A profile on Kirsten from Oregon Arts Commission

Recent poetry reading

The Black.Light Project

Sine Die/Uganda

Digital Storytelling/Notre Dame

Kalashnikov in the Sun, digital story

Tumor Stories, digital story

Portland Winter Light Festival

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