Meet our Artists: Michael Eastman
Meet Our Artists is a recurring virtual series that presents biographical content introducing photographers whose work and journey is compelling and engaging. The content is intended for informative and viewing pleasure.
“There’s a whole range of feelings when I’m engaged in the process of making art. Certainly, excitement is one of them. When you come up with an idea, you can’t wait to get up and start working. There’s nothing better.”
Michael Eastman has established himself as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographic artists.
He has spent five decades documenting interiors and facades in cities as diverse as Havana, Paris, Rome, and New Orleans, producing photographs unified by their visual precision, monumentality, and painterly use of color.
Portrait of an Artist, Michael Eastman
In the following video made by Lou Bopp and provided to the gallery by the artist, Michael Eastman talks about the transformational quality of art and the arduous process of exploring subjects, creating photographs, and how photography can open new ways of seeing the world. Michael Eastman begins this video moving through his preparations for creating a picture on site. As the video progresses, Eastman discusses the evolution of his work, from creating architectural abstractions of the world to photographs that linger with the presence of the human spirit.
This intimate video dives into the enthusiastic and infinitely passionate search for creation that true artists strive towards. Explaining why the work evolved from black and white images to color and how he incorporates printmaking techniques in his latest work, Eastman gives us an inside glimpse into the development of the art and the artist. In this video, the photographer offers a unique insight into the spirit of artmaking.
The Ravages of Time
As profiles of various structures, the pictures showcase the ravages of time amidst their grandeur, presenting profiles loyal to all of the organic imperfections caused by nature and use. With an impressionistic technique, a sense of quiet admiration, and unapologetic sincerity, Michael Eastman’s photographs are visual studies of structures that become human stages for political, social, and cultural interaction. With untold stories still echoing within their walls, Eastman’s photographs perhaps conceal as much as they reveal, portraying the captivating allure of the human touch.
As a self-taught photographer, Michael Eastman has been producing large-scale photographs using a 4 x 5-inch format camera, a wide-angle lens, and long exposures. In a career spanning over 30 years, his photographs have appeared in publications like TIME, Life, Art in America, Art News, Art Forum, Communication Arts and American Photographer. Moreover, Eastman’s work also resides in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other prestigious institutions. His books include Havana (2011, Prestel), Vanishing America (2008, Rizzoli), and Horses (2003, Knopf). A long-time resident of the city, Michael Eastman, works and lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
“I certainly think that there’s a presence in these walls where, over time, man and nature create these surfaces. They present themselves when they’re ready to present themselves, and that’s what I’m looking for.”