Steve Davis

The Rainier School
Location: Olympia, WA
Nationality: USA
Biography: Steve Davis is a documentary portrait and landscape photographer based in the Pacific Northwest.  His work has appeared in American Photo, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, Russian Esquire, and is in many collections, including the... read on
Public Story
The Rainier School
Credits: steve davis
Date of Work: 12/18/05 - 11/05/06
Updated: 02/04/20
The Rainier School is a state operated institution for the developmentally disabled, not far from Seattle at the base of beautiful Mount Rainier. The school at the Rainier School disappeared years ago. There are no young people. Many of its residents have lived there for their entire lives. They have been betrayed by their minds, and many cases, their bodies. Most of its residents are now elderly, and this extensive campus (complete with pool, bowling alley, restaurant and its own farm) is now home to only about 370 people, about 20% of its peak capacity.

My objective was to document the final days of a school-turned rest home. In a sense, it is a carefully monitored prison. In another, it is a charming country club. Nowadays, as we avoid the institutionalization of the developmentally disabled, the Rainier School and many similar facilities are the victims of our social progress. These images represent the end of a major public commitment, and the unique culture it created.


Also by Steve Davis —


Houseless Portraits

By Steve Davis — This portraits, created at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission, were requested by an incarcerated artist, Chad..

Back To The Garden

By Steve Davis / Olympia, Washington — This work represents people who self-identify  as 21st century hippies.  This was my sole..

House Arrest: Pandemic Style

By Steve Davis — As I stay at home under pandemic coronavirus_19 conditions, I, like so many, spend a lot of time walking my..

Captured Youth

By Steve Davis / Washington — Since 1997 I've been photographing incarcerated teens in Washington State.  They live in state and..

Appearing As Regular People

By Steve Davis / Washington Correction Center, Shelton, Washington — Prison Inmates Appearing As Regular People.   These photographs represent inmates from two corrections..

Northwest Passage

By Steve Davis / Idaho, Washington, Oregon — 1970s and 1980s work about living in the Pacific Northwest.

The Western Lands

By Steve Davis / Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, Idaho — These are recent additions to the ongoing project The Western Lands . Statement: Beauty can lurk in strange..

As American Falls

By Steve Davis / American Falls, Idaho — American Falls is a small town southern Idaho named after a real waterfall called American Falls, on the..
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