Mark Steinmetz: Photographing Civilization

Spring 2014

On April 5 and 6, Mark Steinmetz led an insightful workshop at Aperture Foundation, grounded in the tradition of American photography. The workshop began with a seminar on the history of the medium, critically examining the works of Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Robert Adams, and Stephen Shore. Steinmetz highlighted composition, lighting, and thematic narratives, and shared many personal anecdotes from his experiences working with some of these photographers. He also presented his own photographs, discussing his experiences, inspirations, and publications. Each student was able to present his or her portfolio to the group and receive feedback related to the techniques and themes discussed in the lectures. It was a fun and enlightening weekend!

From the students:

“Mark is my favorite photographer, and having the opportunity to talk to and learn from him was an amazing experience.”

“Mark’s presentation of his own work and the presentation of other great photographers’ work enabled me to look at images that I was familiar with in a new way.”


Steinmetz, Off Route 316, Barrow County, Georgia, 2005.


Steinmetz, Atlanta, 2007.


Steinmetz, Knoxville, 1992.

Photographs help us to picture ourselves. Images teach us about our cultural and geographic origins, with the camera as the stylus of civilization. Join Mark Steinmetz as he considers a lineage of American photography from Walker Evans through Robert Frank to Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander, and helps students to consider their work in an expanded context through a combination of lecture and portfolio review. Steinmetz will candidly present his own photography, discussing his experiences, publications, and inspirations. The curriculum will also cover bookmaking and sequencing as additional strategies for shaping groups of photographs. Photographers from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply, as the workshop will touch upon a range of subject matters and approaches. Lunch will be served.

Mark Steinmetz is a photographer and author of numerous titles, including South Central (2007), South East (2008), Greater Atlanta (2009), Summertime (2011), Italia (2010), Paris in My Time (2013), and The Players (2014).His work is included in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. Steinmetz has exhibited internationally, participating in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; MiCamera, Milan; Philadelphia Photo Arts Center; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York; Alibi Fine Art, Chicago; Box Galerie, Brussels; and Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco. Steinmetz has taught photography at Harvard University, Yale University, Sarah Lawrence College, Emory University, and University of Hartford. Steinmetz received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994. He lives in Athens, Georgia.

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