The Pam Francis Portraits

By Christine Starkman

Pam Francis was born in Houston, Texas, in 1954 and passed away in 2020. She received her 
BFA in graphic design and photography from the College of Fine Arts at The University
of Texas at Austin.

Pam Francis Photographs will be the first retrospective exhibition organized at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston on the work of Pam Francis (1954 – 2020). On display September 29 to October 6, 2021, the exhibition will feature iconic artworks depicting her technical mastery of luminous lighting and creative artistry spanning her thirty-year career.

Considered one of the top editorial and advertising photographers in Houston from the 1990s to 2015, Francis earned the sought-after covers and featured articles of Texas Monthly, People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Time, Home and Gardens, and corporate magazines (Continental Airlines, Enron). The list of who’s who includes three presidents of the United States (George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama), a secretary of state (James Baker), mayors (Annise Parker and Lee Brown), hall-of-fame and Olympic athletes (Hakeem Olajuwon, Carl Lewis, Nolan Ryan, Mary Lou Retton), Grammy Award winners (LeAnn Rimes, Hank Williams Jr.), southern rap artists (Bun B, Pimp C, ESG, Slim Thug, Lil’ O, Lil’ Flip, Lil’ Keke, Big Moe, and UGK), CEOs and entrepreneurs (Jim Goode, Mark Cuban, Tillman Fertitta, Oscar Wyatt, Jack Sweeney, Michael Dell, Ken Lay).

Works on view trace Francis’s development as a remarkable talent, capturing portraits that visually chronicle the defining moments and key protagonists of the decades. Over the course of her career, Francis became an important part of the changing cultural role of photography as an artistic medium. The images reveal her discipline and conceptual rigor in converging modes of portraiture and photojournalism with profound authenticity and sly wit. The exhibition also includes Francis’s photographs of her favorite artists like Lyle Lovett and Hank Williams Jr., among others.

Destiny’s Child, 2000
American musical group with Kelendria Trene 
Rowland (b. 1981), Beyonce Giselle Knowles Carter
(b. 1981), and Michelle Williams (b. 1979). Destiny’s 
Child signed with Columbia records in 1996 and 
recorded Say My Name, 2000; Jumpin’ Jumpin, 2000;
Independent Woman, 2000. They won four Billboard 
Music Awards, 2000, and two Grammy Awards, 2001.
Jim Goode, 2004
James Douglas Goode (1944 – 2016), owner of the Goode 
Company Restaurant Group. As of 2012, it included 
Goode Co. Barbecue, Goode Co. Taqueria, Goode Co.
Seafood, and Goode Co. Armadillo Place.
Lyle Lovett, 2012
Lyle Pearce Lovett (b. 1957), American singer, 
songwriter, actor, and record producer. He
recorded thirteen albums, released twenty-five
singles, and won four Grammy Awards.

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For further information on the woman behind the camera, The Houston Chronicle wrote a posthumous article on Pam Francis’s life. https://preview.houstonchronicle.com/art-exhibits/houston-photographer-dies-annie-liebovitz-texas-15428122
For those interested in learning more about Pam Francis’s work, check out her personal website at https://www.pamfrancis.com/

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