Brian Ulrich is an American photographer known for his exploration of consumer culture. Ulrich's work is held many collections including the Art Institute of Chicago
and the Cleveland Museum of Art
Photo District News
named Ulrich as one of 30 Emerging Photographers (2007). He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship
(2009). His work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine
; Time Magazine
; Mother Jones
; and Harper’s
and the Cleveland Museum of Art published his first major monograph, Is This Place Great or What
(2011). The Anderson Gallery published the catalog Closeout: Retail, Relics and Ephemera
Source: Rhode Island School of Design
Ulrich was born in Northport, New York, and lives in Providence, Rhode Island. He received a BFA in photography from University of Akron in Akron, Ohio (1996) and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago (2004). He has taught photography at Columbia College Chicago and Gallery 37, both in Chicago; and at the University of Akron. He is an Associate Professor of Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design.
In 2001 in response to a national call for citizens to bolster the American economy through shopping, Ulrich began a project to document consumer culture. This project, Copia
, is a series of large-scale photographs of shoppers, retail spaces, and displays of goods. Initially focused on big-box retail establishments and shoppers, the series expanded to include thrift stores, back rooms of retail businesses, art fairs, and most recently empty retail stores and dead malls.
Ulrich works with a combination of 4×5 large format and medium format cameras, and also incorporates found objects as sculpture, juxtaposed with his photographs on gallery walls.