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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Photographer Profile ~ Duane Michals

He has shot everything from Life covers, to fashion spreads for Vogue magazine to annual reports for the New York Times - he even shot the 'Synchronicity' album cover for the Police.

Though a master of both shooting and darkroom technique, Michals is entirely self-taught and, in fact, credits much of his success to his lack of formal training. "I was lucky because I never went to photography school and I didn't learn the photography rules," he says. "And in not learning the rules, I was free. I always say, you're either defined by the medium or your redefine the medium in terms of your needs."

Michals' role as something of an outsider and rebel seems to provide him with great amusement: "If I was concerned about being accepted, I would have been doing Ansel Adams look-a-likes, because that was easily accepted," he explains. "Everything that I did was never accepted...but luckily for me, my interest in the subject and my passion for the subject took me to that point that I wasn't wounded by that and eventually, people came around to me."

With more than 20 books of his works in print, including a retrospective entitled The Essential Duane Michals (Bullfinch, New York, 1997) and a book dedicated to his poetic hero, Walt Whitman entitled Salute: Walt Whitman. There is no doubt that the those who have studied his pictures have come around to see the world from the Michal's curious, often humorous, always penetrating perspective. His photographs have been shown in countless solo and group exhibitions in France, Great Britain and the United States. He has won numerous awards and his works are in major collections around the world.

(Via PDN)

Clint Eastwood with Duane Michals

“Think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody's face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways.” ~ Duane Michals  

Painter William De Kooning

Surrealist Painter René Magritte
“Trust that little voice in your head that says "Wouldn't it be interesting if.."; And then do it.”
~ Duane Michals

René Magritte
Dada Artist Marcel Duchamp

Michals' Father, brother and Mother
*Click to enlarge and read text

"Photography is essentially an act of recognition by street photographers, not an act of invention. Photographers might respond to an old man’s face, or an Arbus freak, or the way light hits a building—and then they move on. Whereas in all the other art forms, take William Blake, everything that came to that paper never existed before. It’s the idea of alchemy, of making something from nothing."
Duane Michals

Michals'  Innovative Photo-Sequences, 


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