Mark Christopher Steinmetz (born 1961) is an American photographer. He makes black and white photographs "of ordinary people in the ordinary landscapes they inhabit"
. Steinmetz's work was shown in a group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art
, New York in 1993/1994 and in solo exhibitions at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
in 2015, the High Museum of Art
in 2018 and at Fotohof
in Salzburg, Austria in 2019. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship
. His work is held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago
, Hunter Museum of American Art
, Museum of Contemporary Photography
, Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art
, Whitney Museum of American Art
and Museum of Modern Art
, New York, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Steinmetz was born in New York City and raised in the Boston suburbs of Cambridge and Newton until he was 12. He then moved to the midwest before, aged 21, he went to study photography at the Yale School of Art
in New Haven, Connecticut. He left that MFA program after one semester and in mid 1983, aged 22, moved to Los Angeles in search of the photographer Garry Winogrand
, whom he befriended. He moved to Athens, Georgia in 1999 and was still living and working there as of 2017.
Marc Steinmetz makes photographs "of ordinary people in the ordinary landscapes they inhabit",
and "in the midst of activity"
. Most of his work has been made in the USA but also in Berlin, Paris, and Italy. His books combine portraits (portrait-like but spontaneous) and candid photos of people, and also include animals and still life photos. He finds many of his subjects whilst walking around but he has also spent time at Little League Baseball and summer camps.
Steinmetz predominantly works with black and white film, usually medium format, developed and printed in his own darkroom. He has mostly worked the same way with the same film, chemicals, and cameras since beginning in the mid 1980s.
Mark Steinmetz is an Athens, Georgia-based photographer whose work captures black-and-white images of Southern Americana as seen in urban, rural and suburban landscapes. “I like to stress the poetry and ambiance of a place, while still trying to be truthful,”
he has remarked, and his candid shots of everyday life reflect this statement. Examples of this sentiment are strikingly portrayed in Steinmetz's new photo series Terminus
, showing the everyday moments of people passing through airports. “At the airport, people from all over the world and from all walks of life can be found in the midst of their journeys,”
Mark Steinmetz has said. “Though my main subject has been the passengers, I am also photographing the people who work at the airport, the interiors and exteriors of the planes, as well as the hotels, parking lots and neighborhoods that surround and support the airport.”
Mark Steinmetz draws inspiration from a number of Southern artists whose talents extend beyond the realm of photography, and has remarked “the South has many great writers—William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers—and they've influenced me.”
Surprisingly, Mark Steinmetz did not originate in the South. In fact, he attended high school in Iowa and received his MFA from Yale University in 1986. (Though he initially dropped out in 1983 in order to move to Los Angeles and work with photographer Garry Winogrand
) It wasn’t until 1999 that he left shooting freelance in Chicago and moved south for a teaching job at the University of Tennessee. He has remained in the South ever since. “I love the South for the weeds growing through the cracks of its sidewalks, for its humidity and for its chaos,”
he has said. Interestingly, Mark Steinmetz has worked with analog since the beginning of his career, and even uses the same camera, film and development process today as he did as a novice photographer.
Mark Steinmetz’ monographs include South Central
(2007), South East
(2008), Greater Atlanta
(2009) and Summertime
(2012). He has also been published in Aperture
, Blind Spot
magazines. In 1994, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship
, and in 1998 he participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program. Mark Steinmetz has taught at a number of institutions, including Harvard, Sarah Lawrence College, Emory University and Yale.
Steinmetz’ photos can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art
, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
, The Whitney Museum of American Art
, The Art Institute of Chicago
and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Source: Jackson Fine Art