Duane Michals Sequences
July 27, 2011
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Duane Michals (b. February 18, 1932) is an American photographer. Largely self-taught, his work is noted for its innovation and artistry. Michals’ style often features photo-sequences and the incorporation of text to examine emotion and philosophy, resulting in a unique body of work.
Michals grew up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. In 1953 he received a B.A. from the University of Denver. In 1956 he went on to study design at the Parsons School of Design with a plan to becoming a graphic designer, however he did not complete his studies. In 1958 while on a holiday in the USSR he discovered an interest in photography. The photographs he made during this trip became his first exhibition held in 1963 at the Underground Gallery in New York City.
For a number of years, Michals worked in commercial photography, working for Esquire and Mademoiselle, and he covered the filming of The Great Gatsby for Vogue (1974). He did not have a studio. Instead, he took portraits of people in their environment, which was a contrast to the method of other photographers at the time, such as Avedon and Irving Penn.
In 1968 Michals was hired by the government of Mexico to photograph the 1968 Olympic Games. In 1970 his works were shown at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. The portraits he took between 1958 and 1988 would later become the basis of his book, Album.
In 1976 Michals received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Michals also produced the art for the album Synchronicity (by The Police) in 1983, and Richard Barone’s Clouds Over Eden album in 1993.
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Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals