For the last 15 years I have been photographing in remote deserts across the American Southwest and Mexico. This particular photograph was made in a vast tract of land managed by the Airforce as a gunnery range. A large part of my practice is experimental – how can I make images that speak to the phenomenological experience of these spaces, while at the same time reference their underlying political history. On a whim I was shooting with 4″x5″ color negative film instead of black and white (my chosen medium at the time). I knew I wanted the image to include the sun as an entity rather than a blown out brilliant sky. By exposing the film for an extremely long time at high noon, a reversal happens. The film becomes so sensitized that it actually inverts the brightest part of the scene – the sun becomes a deep red sun, echoing the intensity of this arid land and subtly referencing the larger history of this particular desert space.
Michael’s work is in the permanent collections of the Fralin Museum, Charlottesville, Virginia; Freeport-McMoRan, Phoenix, Arizona; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom; Brandts Museum, Odense, Denmark; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California; Houston Center for Photography, Houston, Texas; City of Phoenix Portable Works Collection, Phoenix, Arizona; Riley, Carlock and Applewhite, Denver, Arizona; Snell & Wilmer, Phoenix, Arizona and the State University of New York, Brockport, New York.
His books include: Transfigurations, monograph, Radius Books, After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire with Mark Klett: Published by UC Press. Publications & Interviews: Hotshoe Magazine, feature & interview with Gregory Barker, Believer Magazine blog, feature & interview with Bucky Miller, The Paper Journal, feature & review, Design Observer, Places with Aaron Rothman and Josh Walleart, feature, Talent, Foam Magazine, interview with Joerg Colberg, feature. Exhibtions: Where There’s Smoke, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, California; After Ansel Adams, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California; If There be Such Space, Ruffin Gallery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia; Looking at the New West, Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia; Transfigurations (solo show), ClampArt, New York, New York; After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006, Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco, California.BACK TO PHOTO