Kari Orvik is a San Francisco-based photographer and educator. Using film, the wetplate collodion process and found materials, her work looks at the resilience and fragility of our changing urban and natural environments, exploring what we hold onto, what we let go of, and where we place value. She has exhibited at the Oakland Museum of California, the Petersen Museum in LA, SF Camerawork, and her work is in the collection of the Berkeley Art Museum. An artist in residence at Recology SF (the dump), Rayko Photo Center, and the Headlands Center for the Arts, she has taught digital and alternative photo processes at the San Francisco Art Institute, City College of SF, UC Berkeley, and currently operates a tintype portrait studio in San Francisco's Outer Mission.

Born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada


University of California Berkeley, MFA, Art Practice
Stanford University B.A., Comparative Literature


2018 Recology SF – Artist-in-Residence

2015 Rayko Photo Center - Artist-in-Residence Program

2012-2013 Graduate Fellowship: Headlands Center for the Arts

2011 Murphy/Cadogan Award: SF Foundation

Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prize: Art Practice Department award, UC Berkeley

2007 Individual Artist Grant: San Francisco Arts Commission, “Mission Portrait Studio”



Geneva, (solo), SF Camerawork

Queer California, Oakland Museum of California

QUÉ CHOLA, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM

Light, Paper, Process: Alt Process/Experimental Photography, Mills Building, SF


My Heart Welcomes You Back Home Again, (solo) Recology SF
Westward, curated by Ann Jastrab, SFAC Gallery at City Hall
Headlands Benefit Auction, Fort Mason SF


The High Art of Riding Low: Ranflas, Corazón, e Inspiración, Petersen Museum, LA
Detritus, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art

Made by Hand, PhotoCentral, Hayward, CA (exhibition and catalog)

Circus, SF Camerawork, San Francisco
House of Wahala, curated by Wura-Natasha Ogunji; DiverseWorks, Houston, TX


Geneva, Artist-in-Residence Exhibition, Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco
Rock+paper+scissors: the artists’ process, DZINE Gallery
#Portrait, with Laura Levine, DZINE Gallery


The Q-Sides (with Vero Majano and DJ Brown Amy), Galería de la Raza


Last call at Naps: Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema film screening

Present Tense: Graduate Fellows Exhibition, Headlands Center for the Arts


Streetopia SF, Luggage Store Gallery, SF
42nd Annual MFA Exhibition, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley

(Re)Collection: a collaboration with Lost and Found, Intersection for the Arts
MFA Now: Root Division, SF


Frontrunners: 2011 Murphy and Cadogan Award Exhibition, SoMarts, SF


Art in Storefronts - 24th St Screening, with Martha Rosler and Vero Majano, Triple Base Gallery, SF


Home is Something I Carry With Me, curated by Adrienne Skye Roberts, film screening
17 Reasons Why, Mission 17 Gallery, with author Erica Lyle


Narrating Identity, (Dis)locating Bodies, Galería de la Raza,
The Show Starts on the Sidewalk, outdoor screening,
“Intervene! Interrupt!: Rethinking Art as Social Practice” UCSC


Ladies’ Night: Outdoor 3-month commission 16th Street BART Plaza
The View From Here: rooftop portrait studio, SOEX Public Art Day, SF


Kari Orvik's Tightly Focused Geneva Captures Daily Life in the Excelsior, by Roula Seikaly, KQED
Documenting an Outer Mission corner by tintype, SF Chronicle, by Sam Whiting 8/18

The Re-Purposeful Life, interview with Silicon Valley Magazine, 9/18
Black and White Magazine, interview, 5/17

Bird in Flight, Russian Photo magazine, article about nostalgia in the digital age
The Rebirth of Tintype: An Old Photographic Medium is Revitalized
Popular Photography Magazine 2/17

The Q-Sides, ArtNews "Pictures at an Exhibition", 5/15

The Q-Sides, Queer Latinos find place in lowrider culture, by Ryan Kost, SF Chronicle 6/15
SF MOMA’s “Open Space” blog: Public Art and Redevelopment, Adrienne Skye Roberts (4/09)


Fred Moten's Radical Critique of the Present, The New Yorker, 4/18
The ENCYCLOPEDIA Project, vol. 3: (contributor and cover image)

SF Magazine: portraits for “The Fire Last Time” Revisiting the Hunter’s Point Riot (9/2016)


Berkeley Art Museum Permanent Collection

Tintype commission by Isaac Julien for Frederick Douglass “Lessons of the Hour” exhibition


PhotoAlliance, Spring Lecture Series, SFAI

City College SF, Photographers and their Images series
DeYoung Museum, “Picturing the Past”


San Francisco Art Institute - 
Instructor, Alt Processes, Fall 2019, Spring 2018

City College of San Francisco - 
Beginning Photography, Fall 2017 - 2019
Design Fundamentals, Fall 2018
Self-Portraiture, Summer 2018

University of California Berkeley - 
Beginning Digital Photography 2012-2013
Introduction to Visual Thinking 2012

California College of the Arts - YASP youth program, Black and White Darkroom 2016-2017

Photography mentor - First Exposures photo mentoring program 2004

Kari Orvik

Kari Orvik ...
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