PCPP is an organization dedicated to preserving the work of photographers. Our goal is to match collections of important work with the institutional homes best suited to maintain them and ensure their accessibility. In that effort, PCPP connects the creators of important collections to institutions committed to historic preservation. We also serve the work we represent by creating a nexus of relevant professionals, including curators, gallerists appraisers, archivists, collectors, and experts in fine art photography and photojournalism.
While PCPP acts as a good-faith advisor to all parties, our allegiance is to the work we represent, and our sole mission is to ensure that it is preserved for scholars, the public, and future generations. As a non-profit organization, revenues generated through our services, as well as grants, and donations from our generous supporters, help to offset some of the administrative and labor costs accrued in pursuit of our mission.
Why We are Here
By their very nature, collections of photographers' life's work are living, breathing, often sprawling entities, consisting not only of photographs in various forms but also related materials (ephemera such as letters, notebooks, etc.). Such collections are often left by their creators to friends or family members for whom the issues of archiving, digital storage, physical preservation, and legal ownership can be overwhelming. Meanwhile, the cost in time and money to make a coherent archive of such disparate materials can mount quickly if left unaddressed for even a short period of time. Negatives, contact sheets, and prints, for example, are delicate objects that require precise handling and storage, and born-digital objects are equally subject to degradation without meticulous and redundant backup.
In August 2016, Penelope Dixon and Karen Gaines founded PCPP to address the urgent task of making sure that these irreplaceable cultural, historical, and educational assets are preserved. In their many years of professional leadership as respected authorities in the field of photography, they have seen a crisis developing that places the future integrity of many important twentieth-century collections in imminent jeopardy. Their foremost goal is to identify this imperiled work and ensure its preservation.
Penelope Dixon, Co-Founder and President
Penelope Dixon's long career in fine-art photography, which began in the auction houses of Manhattan (Phillips Son & Neale and Argus, Ltd.), includes service on the boards of a number of arts organizations, frequent lectures to professional audiences, and contributions to articles and books. Among other works, she is the author of Photographers of the Farm Security Administration: An Annotated Bibliography. She is best known, however, as the proprietor of the well-known appraisal firm she founded some 35 years ago, Penelope Dixon & Associates, which numbers some of the most prominent photographers and collections in the world among its clients.
Karen Gaines, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Karen Gaines is a longtime photo editor who served in that capacity at several of Time Inc. magazines, including People and Time, where she worked closely with the preeminent photojournalists of the mid- to late-twentieth century. She also ran photographic coverage for the official record of President Barack Obama’s 2009 Inauguration and worked with the Smithsonian Institution on its exhibition of those pictures. A graduate of Tufts with a BFA in Photography, she is currently finishing her postgraduate work in information science to better serve PCPP’s mission.
Lesley Cannady, Director of Development
Lesley Cannady is a fundraising and strategy professional with ten years of experience helping arts organizations thrive. Previously, she oversaw foundation and education fundraising for The Museum of Modern Art and was a senior development officer for The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lesley received her M.A. in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University and her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Virginia.
Nicole Kaack, Administrative Fellow
Nicole Kaack is an independent curator and writer who has been published by Whitehot Magazine, artcritical, Art Viewer, SFAQ / NYAQ / AQ, and Artforum. In conjunction with her work at the Photo Collections Preservation Project, Kaack is Curatorial Fellow at The Kitchen, New York. Previously, she has worked as researcher in the archives at the Noguchi Museum and The Kitchen, and as Dedalus Fellow in the institutional archives at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Kaack is the co-founder of the newsletter of missing out, co-director of the artist publication prompt:, and co-founder of the press Blind Carbon. She received her BA in art history and visual art from Columbia University and is currently pursuing her MA in art history at Hunter College.
Youn Lee, Freelance Web Designer
Youn Lee is a freelance UX/web designer responsible for website design and technical support. She received her M.S. in Information Experience Design at Pratt Institute, and has experience with cultural institute website usability research.