Born, raised, and based in Los Angeles, CA, Peggy Fontenot is a professional award-winning Native American photographer. Although Fontenot will discount the word professional, bearing in mind she is self-taught, her work has been shown in such prestigious settings as the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Eiteljorg and Heard Museums, the Autry National Center, the Briscoe Museum, the Utah Museum of Natural History, Cohokia Mounds, the SouthWestern Association of Indian Arts, the Museum of History and Art Ontario, and the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum.
Documenting relevant social issues, including that of Native People and veterans, Fontenot has chosen to forgo digital imagery, remaining devoted to film. Inferring that color is a distraction; her images are shot in monochrome, utilizing provided light. To further strengthen her perspective, she processes her own prints in her wet darkroom using a Split-Filter technique.
Having had her work compared to that of Diane Arbus, Fontenot seems to delve into the psyche of her subjects, summoning thought provoking conversation amongst its viewers. Often mistaking her photographs for something that had existed long ago, a second glance generates the realization that her images are in fact contemporary.
The narrative being told through her work, coupled with the evidence that Fontenot’s photographs are quite deliberate given that she rarely shoots more than two or three frames of each image, and the feel of the new merging with the old, has initiated Universities and State Historical Societies alike, to vie for her negatives.