Mitch Epstein

(1952) American


Mitch Epstein was born in 1952 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and studied at Union College, New York; Rhode Island School of Design; and Cooper Union, New York. At Cooper Union, Epstein was a student of photographer Garry Winogrand and was influenced both by Winogrand and William Eggleston's use of color. Epstein helped pioneer the redefinition of color photography as art form, as he was one of the earlier practitioners of fine-art color photography. He is well known for documenting his projects as books, which he feels allows him to form a narrative structure for his photographs. Epstein shoots film, as he believes he would not get the tonal rendering and detail for his large prints if he were to use digital.
Epstein's recent work American Power focuses on the American production and consumption of energy, but also touches on governmental, corporate, and societal power. The landscapes in American Power, as well as those in Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988, allude to many issues--what it means to be an American in a certain time, place, and political climate--without being didactic or judgmental.
Epstein's photographs are held at museums including the Art Institute of Chicago; the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Museum of Modern Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Tate Modern; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His books include Berlin (Steidl & The American Academy in Berlin, 2011); American Power (Steidl, 2009); Mitch Epstein: Work (Steidl, 2006); Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 (Steidl 2005); and Family Business (Steidl 2003).
Mary O'Donnell Hulme
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