Biography

Michael Eastman’s photographic career began in his early 20’s after reading The Daybooks of Edward Weston and practicing Ansel Adams' zone system. Always intrigued by surface, patina, and color, he began by taking black and white pictures of abstract patterns on walls in his now signature formalist style. He once stated “I do get in front of things and look at them straight on. Partly that’s from Weston, partly from Evans – and my love of painting and the idea of it, the flatness.”

Eastman’s oeuvre is diverse, spanning sumptuous Italian interiors, decrepit American ghost towns, and expansive midwestern landscapes. He is most well known for his vibrant and haunting images of Havana, Cuba, which he has photographed over the course of five trips beginning in the late 1990’s. A common theme present throughout his work is historic preservation and the depiction of places marking human activity but devoid of the actual inhabitants. His rich color palette, geometric precision, and elevation of setting to subject continues to transport the viewer to a different place and time.

Michael Eastman was born in 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri, and studied at the University of Wisconsin. He was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts grant, the National Addy Award and a Paris Photo BMW Prize Finalist. His work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, the International Center of Photography, NY, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA and the Saint Louis Art Museum, MO. He has had solo exhibitions at the Barry Friedman Gallery, NY, the University of Wyoming, WY, the Kemper Museum in Kansas City, MO, and McKissick Museum, Columbia, SC. His publications include Havana (Prestel, 2011), Vanishing America (Rizzoli, 2008), and Horses (Knopf, 2003), which is now in its fifth edition. Eastman's photographs have appeared in Art In America, Art News, New York Times, Communications Arts, American Photographer and Time Magazine. He currently lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.