A photo taken by John Stamets graces the cover of Alaskeros, a publication featuring a documentary exhibit on pioneer Filipino Cannery Workers. Stamets’ photo is of Johnny Rolluda, who was born in 1911 in Pangasinan province and arrived in the United States in 1929.
A photo taken by John Stamets graces the cover of Alaskeros, a publication featuring a documentary exhibit on pioneer Filipino Cannery Workers. Stamets’ photo is of Johnny Rolluda, who was born in 1911 in Pangasinan province and arrived in the United States in 1929.

University of Washington lecturer and photographer John Stamets passed away earlier this month at the age of 64.

Stamets joined the UW faculty in 1992 and ran the Architecture Photo Lab in the basement of Gould Hall. He designed a photography class for future architects and a “special projects” class where students photographed a single subject in depth.

John Stamets
John Stamets

Stamets specialized in documenting the rise and fall of historic buildings with large-format photography. In 2011 he covered the UW’s expansion of new buildings on the west side of campus in a blog aptly titled “Here Comes the Neighborhood.”

He photographed construction of the Seattle Central Public Library and the Experience Music Project, the rehabilitation of King Street Station, and many other building projects. He published the book Portrait of a Market in 1987 with writer Steve Dunnington.

Stamets also coordinated the Alaskeros exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience. The Alaskeros exhibit featured portraits of Filipino American pioneers in the Pacific Northwest paired with their own words to tell the personal story of struggle and success as they toiled in Alaska canneries.

“Without John Stamets’s initiative, the photographic history of the early Filipino migrant laborers who came in the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s would not have been documented,” said activist Ron Chew.

A public celebration of Stamets’ life and work happened on June 15 in the courtyard of Gould Hall at UW.

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