Duane Michals: Storyteller
Born in 1932 and raised near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a steelworker family, Michals was a pioneer in the 1960s when he broke away from established traditions of documentary and fine art photography. Rather than respecting the primacy of the photographic print, Michals added handwritten messages and poems to the paper surface. Instead of accepting the widely recognized dominance of a powerful single image, so respected by masters like Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson, Michals created sequences of multiple images to convey visual stories. He has always considered himself to be a storyteller.
Inspired by Surrealist painter Réné Magritte, Michals experimented with double and triple exposures to expand the meaning and interpretation of his subject. These innovations won both derision and acclaim, including a one-person exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1970. Consistent worldwide publication of his photographs in books and journals followed.