Known for both her landscapes and portraits, Mary Randlett began documenting iconic Northwest artists like Mark Tobey and Morris Graves in 1949. In 1963, Theodore Roethke asked her to photograph him in his Seattle home, hers were the last pictures taken of the poet before his death, and they garnered international attention. In addition to Graves, Tobey, and Roethke, Mary Randlett Portraits includes renowned artists Jacob Lawrence and George Tsutuakawa; writers Tom Robbins, Henry Miller, and Colleen McElroy; arts patrons Betty Bowen and Richard Fuller; and more. Randlett's portraits are known for their effortless intimacy, illuminating her subjects as few ever saw them, something noted by many of those whom she photographed. The portraits are accompanied by biographical sketches written by Frances McCue, which blend life stories and reflections on the works with Randlett's own reminiscences. McCue also provides an essay on Randlett's life and professional career.
Frances McCue is an award-winning poet, essayist, and arts administrator. The founding director of the Richard Hugo House, McCue currently teaches writing and literature as a writer-in-residence at the University of Washington's Undergraduate Honors Program. Her first book of poetry, The Stenographer's Breakfast, won the Barnard New Women's Poetry Prize, and her most recent book of poetry, The Bled, won the 2011 Washington State Book Award for poetry. She is also the author, with photographs by Mary Randlett, of The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs: Revisiting the Northwest Towns of Richard Hugo. Mary Randlett has been photographing the Northwest for almost eighty years. Her works are held in at least forty permanent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution.