Working, teaching, chatting or just living: whatever he’s doing, Duane Michals is a man with a big heart—which has always made him a photographer unlike any other, totally committed to authenticity and the extraordinary
Duane Michals’s poetic body of work, celebrated for its existential series, is filled with portraits shot both on commission and as part of his personal exploration of the genre. However, they represent only a small part of his oeuvre, appearing here and there in books and magazines. The current exhibition at the DC Moore Gallery in New York is taking a look back at this less obvious facet of the American’s work through a large selection of photographs depicting famous people and the photographer’s friends and family. The mostly black-and-white images are developed from negatives unearthed from Michals’ archives. Many of them are being exhibited here for the first time.
Now, the first major retrospective of his work in almost 50 years, running at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the home of over 4,000 of his prints, presents him as not only a critical figure in the history of modern art, but seeks to affirm his place as one of the founders of photography as we know it today.
Jimmy Nelson is about to release Before They Pass Away, a massive book—both physically and thematically—that’s the result of three-and-a-half years spent documenting vanishing cultures. In what is perhaps the most comprehensive contemporary look at some of the world’s last remaining tribes, the book chronicles Nelson’s experiences photographing 35 populations that have neither adapted to the modern world, nor shown a desire to join it.
For eighty years—eight decades—he gave it his all, selecting his own (mostly unknown) images and writing his own texts. He loves to write and he does it well. As a protean artist, Duane has played many characters in his life. That’s only natural for someone who claims that photography is nothing but a lie.
Spending time with Duane Michals recent book, 50, was essentially re-experiencing much of my own photographic life, having come of photographic age with his Somnambulistic period. His fascination with dreams, dreamlike states and dream-walking precedes our current interest with making connections to memories. He is whimsical, elusive, sensitive, cerebral, witty, caustic, introspective, challenging and seemly always on the move, pushing boundaries along a zigzag course of his own making.