Kathleen Tunnell Handel is engaged in a long term research based exploration of the affordable housing subgenre of mobile home and manufactured housing communities. Her immersive project “Where the Heart Is: Portraits from Vernacular American Trailer and Mobile Home Parks” includes her photographic images from communities, to date, within Maine, California, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Colorado, archived and presented in the taxonomy and typologies she is creating.
Tunnell Handel’s extensive research, conversations with park managers and residents, and collaboration with sociologists, urban planners, and housing advocates working within the mobile home and manufactured housing “umbrella” ground her fine art aesthetic within the documentary tradition and inform her growing advocacy for affordable housing.
Tunnell Handel’s earlier studies in observational and systems based life sciences at Cornell University, through her exploration of the visual arts and being awarded a BFA in Textile Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, to ongoing studies of photography, fine art printing, and bookmaking at locations including the International Center of Photography and the Maine Media and Santa Fe Workshops have all contributed to her deep interest in culture history and themes of place, the human experience, memory, and life systems.
She lives in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and NYC and photographs widely.