Michael Wolf

German/American Photographer | Born: 1954 - Died: 2019

Lives in Hong Kong, born Munich, Germany. The focus of the german photographer michael wolf’s work is life in mega cities. many of his projects document the architecture and the vernacular culture of metropolises. wolf grew up in canada, europe and the united states, studying at uc berkeley and at the folkwang school with otto steinert in essen, germany. he moved to hong kong in 1994 where he worked for 8 years as contract photographer for stern magazine. since 2001, wolf has been focusing on his own projects, many of which have been published as books. Wolf’s work has been exhibited in numerous locations, including the venice bienniale for architecture, aperture gallery, new york; museum centre vapriikki, tampere, finland, museum for work in hamburg, germany, hong kong shenzhen biennial, museum of contemporary photography, chicago. his work is held in many permanent collections, including the metropolitan museum of art in new york, the brooklyn museum, the san jose museum of art, california; the museum of contemporary photography, chicago; museum folkwang, essen and the german museum for architecture, frankfurt. He has won first prize in the world press photo award competition on two occasions (2005 & 2010) and an honorable mention (2011.) in 2010, wolf was shortlisted for the prix pictet photography prize. He has published more than 13 photo books including bottrop ebel 1976 (peperoni press 2012) tokyo compression three (peperoni press/asia one 2012,) architecture of density (peperoni press/asia one 2012,) hong kong corner houses (hong kong university press, 2011) portraits (superlabo, japan,2011) tokyo compression revisited (peperoni press/asia one 2011,) real fake art (peperoni press/asia one 2011,) fy (peperoni press, 2010,) a series of unfortunate events. (peperoni press, 2010,) tokyo compression (peperoni press/asia one 2010,) hongkong inside outside (asia one/peperoni press 2009,) the transparent city (aperture 2008) and sitting in china (steidl 2002).

Source: photomichaelwolf.com


Michael Wolf’s work examines life in the layered urban landscape, addressing juxtapositions of public and private space, anonymity and individuality, history and modern development. In a diverse array of photographic projects, from street views appropriated from Google Earth, to portraits capturing the crush of the Tokyo Subway, and dizzying architectural landscapes, Wolf explores the density of city life. Wolf currently lives and works in Hong Kong and Paris. His photographs are in the permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; the Brooklyn Museum; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago among others, and have been exhibited at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego (2011), Goethe Institute in Hong Kong (2010), Fotographie Museum, Amsterdam (2010), Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2008), Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2008), and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2008), among others. Wolf was awarded First Place in the 2010 World Press Photo Award Contest in the Daily Life category, and was shortlisted for the 2010 Prix Pictet. Wolf's numerous monographs include Tokyo Compression Revisited (Peperoni Books, 2011), Real Fake Art (Peperoni Books, 2011), Tokyo Compression (Peperoni Books, 2010), Hong Kong: Inside/Outside (Peperoni Books, 2009), The Transparent City (Aperture and MoCP, 2008), Hong Kong: Front Door/Back Door, (Thames & Hudson, 2005), and Sitting in China (Steidl, 2002).

Source: Robert Koch Gallery


Michael Wolf was born in 1954 in Munich, Germany. He grew up in the United States, Europe and Canada, and studied at UC Berkeley and at the Folkwang School in Essen, Germany. In 1994, Wolf moved to Hong Kong and worked for eight years as a contract photographer for Stern magazine, until he left to pursue his own projects. Wolf's photographic work in Asia focuses on the city and its architectural structures, and follows on from his interest in people and human interaction. He has published seven photobooks to date. Wolf's work has been exhibited extensively in galleries and art fairs throughout the world since 2005, and is held in permanent collections across the US and Germany. Wolf has won previously won a World Press Photo award, a first prize in Contemporary Issues stories in 2005.

Source: World Press Photo

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Michael Wolf: Tokyo Compression Three
Author: Michael Wolf
Publisher: Peperoni Books
Year: 2015 - Pages: 112
With ""Tokyo Compression"" Michael Wolf struck a nerve. His portraits of people who are on their way in the Tokyo subway, constrained between glass, steel and fellow travelers, have won many awards and were shown in exhibitions around the globe. The first edition of this book was sold out after a few weeks. And the topic kept haunting Michael Wolf as well. He returned to Tokyo in order to immerse in the subsurface insanity once again and this time even deeper. Now with "Tokyo Compression Three" the third, completely revised edition is published, with many so far unreleased images and an entirely new ""hidden track"" at the end of the book.
 
Michael Wolf: The Transparent City
Author: Natasha Egan, Geoff Manaugh, Michael Wolf
Publisher: Aperture/MoCP
Year: 2008 - Pages: 112
Chicago, like many urban centers throughout the world, has recently undergone a surge in new construction, grafting a new layer of architectural experimentation onto those of past eras. In early 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, with the support of U.S. Equities Realty, invited Michael Wolf as an artist-in-residence to document this phenomenon. Bringing his unique perspective on changing urban environments to a city renowned for its architectural legacy, Wolf chose to photograph the central downtown area, focusing specifically on issues of voyeurism and the contemporary urban landscape in flux. This is Wolf's first body of work to address an American city. Whereas prior series have juxtaposed humanizing details within the surrounding geometry of the urban landscape, in The Transparent City, his details are fragments of life--digitally distorted and hyper-enlarged--snatched surreptitiously via telephoto lenses: Edward Hopper meets Blade Runner. The material
 
Hong Kong: Front Door/Back Door
Author: Michael Wolf, Kenneth Baker, Douglas Young
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Year: 2005 - Pages: 120
This trip through one of the most densely populated areas of the world is also a journey through a strangely underpopulated place, inhabited only by the traces of city dwellers. The dark back alleys that crisscross the city are home to objects that, at first glance, seem to be discarded―the random detritus of the man-made world. Under the scrutiny of Michael Wolf's photographic eye, these objects become fascinating installation pieces, while the abstract patterns of the buildings reveal the beauty and order that underlie the apparent chaos of the city. Thought-provoking texts by Kenneth Baker and Douglas Young explore the choices that people make of lifestyle, form, function, identity, and design, as well as the notion of Hong Kong as a brand.
 
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