About the Photographer
American, b. 1942
Michael Burns has photographed architecture and landscapes for several decades. His images rationally organize space using architectural structures and available light while also abstracting form and closely recording textures. The photographs in the collection of the MoCP are early contact prints photographed using an 8x10 view camera, which Burns used for several years to photograph urban architecture and enigmatic, vernacular architectural structures he found in the desolate desert areas of the Great Basin in the Western United States. Burns stopped using his 8x10 camera in 1984, after a month-long project photographing the Berlin Wall that was later exhibited in the Seattle Art Museum (1987). In 1985, he began to use Leica rangefinder cameras, working in Seattle, New York, Rome, Paris, and Egypt. In 2001, Burns stopped shooting film and transitioned to shooting digitally.
Michael Burns completed a BFA in Painting at the University of Washington, Seattle (1966), and an MFA in Painting at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1969). His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Silver Image Gallery, Seattle (1977, 1979); Seattle Art Museum (1982, 1987); Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (1986); G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle (1992, 1995, 2000); and Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, Spokane (2003). Publications include Documents Northwest: The PONCHO Series (Seattle Art Museum, 1987) and the twenty-fifth anniversary issue of ARCADE: Architecture and Design in the Northwest entitled The Modern Image of Architecture (spring 2004). His work is held in many private and public collections, including the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; New Orleans Museum of Art; Seattle Art Museum; and University of Oregon Museum of Art, Eugene. He is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Photographer’s Fellowship (1980) and a Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Fellowship in Rome (1987). Burns lives and works in Seattle.