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resonant thunder coming out of the South. In 2000, she flew to NYC and secured contracts with XXL and The Source magazines for a commissioned series to capture a nascent Texas music scene that was about to explode upon the national consciousness. That would be Southern rap — Houston's hip-hop scene to be precise. Francis was there in the earliest days, in the early 2000s, tapped by Mathew Knowles to record Destiny's Child. Francis became a family friend. A white chick from a pedigreed Houston family might not seem like the expected choice to document the edgy rap scene, but Francis was always an iconoclast — ballsy, a woman who took up skydiving around the world, after traveling to Russia and Ukraine to document jumps where she was tethered to a helicopter to avoid tumbling out the open doors. CUE THE CURATOR Christine Starkman, the founding curator of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Arts of Asia Galleries and current POST Houston curator, has organized a magnum-opus retrospective of Pam Francis' portraits and written the accompanying book that promises to secure the late photographer's legacy. A selection of Francis' images of musicians debuts in November at POST Houston — part of the OMA New York / Jason Long-designed building's grand opening. The entire exhibition unveils at the Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, in April 2022. When Pam Francis passed away in the summer of 2020 due to complications from hip surgery, there had already been talk of a book and exhibition, and the photographer's family commissioned Starkman for both projects. The curator was geared up to meet her subject but never got the chance. But Francis' work was able to speak for her. Twelve interviews and 50,000 transcribed words later, and after an intense half- year of research, the book Pam Francis Photographs launches this month. The biggest discovery the volume yields is not the Texas Monthly magazines covers — which would have made this a book about the past — but was found in a box of slides. This bin that looked u n p r o m i s i n g y i e l d e d the ultimate reward for Starkman. She held a sheath of slides to light and recognized one of the subjects: Bun B, whom she knew from her time at the MFAH. She rang him up. Bun B graciously worked with Starkman to identify the rapper images that form the core of the exhibition at POST and comprise perhaps the most thrilling discovery about Francis' career. HERE, CHRISTINE STARKMAN SHARES THE JOURNEY TO PAM FRANCIS PHOTOGRAPHS. On your process. Christine Starkman: How did I transcribe 50,000 words in just three months! I started interviewing the first week of February [2021]. I had access to her computer in her apartment. Digital files. I went through them and made a preliminary selection. Then I saw the archives. I went through film and slides and contact sheets; that was in 2020. The archive was brought to the office. I'm so glad we were able Christine Starkman Pam Francis, 2014 Pam Francis' Lyle Lovett, 2001 Pam Francis' Selena, 1994 JOHNNY THAN 51

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