David M Nolan Photographs and Personal Papers, 1978-2015
Materials are arranged into two distinct series: Series 1. Photographs and Series 2. Personal Papers. The first series which highlights Nolan's professional career as a photographer are broken into seven distinct sub-series that highlight his professional interests and are arranged chronologically by subject area, the last of which contains numerous projects and photographs that were discarded in the previous projects, these include: sub-series 1. Fine Art, Nudes, and Nature Stills, 1978-2010; sub-series 2. Danville Manor Nursing Home, 1982-1990; sub-series 3. Illinois Arts Council Vermillion County Life Project, 1985-1988; sub-series 4. Iron Range Community Documentary Project, 1987-1988; sub-series 5. Urbana-Champaign Blues Concerts and Festivals, 1994-2000; sub-series 6. Contact Sheets, 1978-2010; and Photo of the Month, 2014-2016.
David M. Nolan was born in 1945 and has lived mainly in Danville, Illinois since 1977. From the age of 12, Nolan held an active interest in photography. At Southern Illinois University Nolan studied geography and design, but he supported his interests in photography as a student by working at the Buckminster Fuller Archive and by working semi-professionally as a wedding photographer. Nolan initially worked as a city planner for Decatur, Illinois, Warren, Ohio, and Danville, Illinois, but since the mid 1970s has worked at Danville Manor Nursing Home as a counselor for the mentally ill. In 1978, after taking courses with Orville Stokes, Nolan rekindled his interest in photography and began to shoot photographs professionally. He was initially impressed with Depression-era photographs and began modeling his own style of photographs on the work of photographer Walker Evans. Many of his photographs from the 1970s and 1980s are of people on the streets. His early professional work also centers around fine art and nudes, two subjects that continue to be at the core of his photography. In 1985, he received a grant from the Danville Area Arts Council to capture through film community life in Vermillion County, Illinois. Soon after completing this project, Nolan was accepted into a Minnesota-based workshop in 1987 that culminated in a project called the Iron Range Community Project. Soon after this he moved to Warren, Ohio to work as a city planner and to assist his father with his trucking company. In addition, while in Warren, Ohio Nolan set up his first darkroom and began filming blues musicians. Nolan continued to photograph blues musicians when he moved back to Danville, Illinois in the early 1990s. Since then Nolan has become a member of the Danville Art League and is a member of the board of directors at the Urbana Museum of Photography. At the request of an exhibitor in 2009, instead of presenting nude portraits Nolan branched out of photography into the realm of sculpture and exhibited a collection called "Altered Images. In 2014 Nolan began a mail art project which he called the "photo of the month" mailing.