André Kertész American, b. Austria-Hungary, 1894-1985 André Kertész was one of the first photographers to work with the small, 35mm camera, becoming famous for his skill at capturing the fleeting moments of everyday life. In 1911 he bought his first camera and began taking photographs in his native Budapest and the surrounding countryside. The following year, after graduating from Budapest's Academy of Commerce, Kertész took a job as a clerk at the Budapest stock exchange. His interest in photography continued, and he began making spontaneous photographic studies of the city's people and street life. Kertész also took photographs recording the daily life of his fellow soldiers during his service in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. After his discharge in 1918, he returned to Budapest and worked there until 1925. He moved to Paris, establishing himself as a freelance photographer, and soon became a member of the avant-garde. His work was published in a variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Münchner Illustrierte Presse, Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, Uhu, Vu, the London Sunday Times, and L'Esprit nouveau. In 1927 he had his first exhibition at the progressive Galerie au Sacre du Printemps and two years later took part in the Film und Foto show in Stuttgart. Kertész became known for his candid photography and was recognized as a leader in modern, subjective photojournalism. In the early 1930s he also made his well-known series called Distortions, featuring almost 200 studies of the nude female figure reflected in a parabolic mirror. In 1936 Kertész came to New York to work for Keystone Studios under a one-year contract. He remained in the city, producing pictures on a freelance basis until joining the staff of Condé Nast Publications in 1949. Following his retirement in 1962, Kertész focused on his own work, remaining active as a photographer until his death. Over the years he published a number of books and was featured in many exhibitions and publications, including André Kertész: Of Paris and New York, a major show organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1985). M.M.
Duane Michals American, 1932- Although believing reality to be invisible, Duane Michals has used his camera to give photographic credulity to myths, fantasy, spirits, and dreams. His innovative narrative sequences question nothing less than the nature of truth. Michals (born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania) studied at the University of Denver (B.A., 1953) and Parsons School of Design in New York (1956–57). Self-taught as a photographer, he made his first portraits in 1958 while on a trip to Russia and established himself commercially upon returning to New York City. He has continued to maintain an active commercial freelance career, completing assignments for Vogue, Esquire, Mademoiselle, Horizon, and Scientific American magazines. In 1964 Michals began making personal images; his earliest scenes included empty cafes, buses, stores, and laundromats. Two years later, he started his first sequence. Influenced by surrealist painters such as Rene Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico, Michals addresses sexuality, death, and spirituality in open-ended narratives, relying on the artifice of drama to straddle the line between fact and fiction. Devices such as multiple exposures and blurred focus add to his witty questioning of photographic veracity. In 1971 he began to accompany his sequences with handwritten texts, presenting series geared to the book form. Michals's major publications include Sequences (1970), The Journey of the Spirit after Death (1971), Things Are Queer (1973), Chance Meeting (1973), Paradise Regained (1973), Take One and See Mount Fujiyama and Other Stories (1976), Real Dreams (1977), Homage to Cavafy: Ten Poems by Constantine Cavafy/Ten Photographs by Duane Michals (1978), and Upside Down, Inside Out and Backwards (1993). His work has been shown internationally, with one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1970), the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg (1989, European tour), and the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego (1990, national tour). Michals has received a New York Creative Artists Public Service Grant (1975), fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976) and the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts (1978), the Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris (1982), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Art (1991), an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society, Bath (1992), the Century Award from the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego (1993), and a gold medal for photography from the National Arts Club, New York (1994). He taught as the Meadows Distinguished Visiting Professor at Southern Methodist University (1989) and received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the Art Institute of Boston (1993). Michals lives in New York. A.W.
Elliott Erwitt American, b. France, 1928-
Elliott Erwitt is known for the wry sense of humor and irreverent view of the world revealed through his personal work. Born in Paris, during the 1940s he studied photography at Los Angeles City College and film at the New School for Social Research in New York. He worked as a cameraman in France (1949-50), as a staff photographer for Roy Stryker for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and the Pittsburgh Photo Library (1950-52), and as a photographic assistant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps (1951-53).
After settling in New York City in the 1950s, Erwitt joined the magnum photo cooperative and began work as a photojournalist and commercial photographer. He is best known, however, for his personal photographs: humorous images of people and/or dogs that record unexpected or incongruous juxtapositions of subject, setting, and situation. Erwitt's pictures have been featured in one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1964), the Art Institute of Chicago (1974), and the International Center of Photography, New York (1989), as well as in numerous group exhibitions. He has also made several documentary films, including Beauty Knows No Pain (1973), Arthur Penn (1970), Red, White, and Bluegrass (1973), and Beautiful, Baby, Beautiful (1980). M.M.