Michael Eastman has established himself as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographic artists. The photographer has spent five decades documenting interiors and facades in cities as diverse as Havana, Paris, Rome, and New Orleans, producing large-scale photographs unified by their visual precision, monumentality, and painterly use of color. Eastman is most recognized for his explorations of architectural forms and the patinas the passage of time give structures, creating mysterious narratives about time and place.
As a self-taught photographer, Michael Eastman is a seeker and explorer. For the past five decades, he has captured landscapes, architecture, horses, and abstraction. Eastman explores these subjects with mastery as an artist, essentially drawing attention to the myriad details in his pictures. In one series, an interior room with dilapidated walls and empty chairs reference the glory of Havana’s forlorn elite. In another, the striking, hand-painted lettering used in the facades of mid-century shops and businesses recall the early vitality of America’s abandoned main street.
Eastman’s portraits of various structures showcase the effects and transformation of time amid the grandeur, presenting profiles loyal to all of the organic imperfections caused by the passage of time and use. Through a painterly technique and masterful composition, Michael Eastman’s photography emphasizes a sense of quiet admiration and unapologetic sincerity. His pictures present human stages for political, social, and cultural interaction and the untold stories still echoing within their walls. In each creation, Eastman provides an abundance of unique detail, inserting an element of imagined history. His work is a study in profound observation. The moments Eastman captures are part of a larger story, one that in its entirety we can never really know. His photographs speak to a narrative beyond the frame. This narrative concerns history and time as a metaphor for a human presence.
Eastman’s body of work, along with his saturated use of color, ranges between creative vision and nostalgia. Eastman’s photographs suggest a meeting ground for imagination and reality, where the path between history and the present becomes a poetic visual record. Whether capturing a concealed doorway in a Buenos Aires palace, creating unique cyanotype prints from foliage, or presenting the many empty chairs, facades, doorways, mirrors, and interiors as the protagonists of his photos, Michael Eastman’s photographs are captivating in both their subtlety and their boldness. Eastman’s photographs have appeared in major magazines such as Time, Life, Art in America, Art News, Art Forum, Communication Arts and American Photographer. His books include Havana (2011, Prestel), Vanishing America (2008, Rizzoli), and Horses (2003, Knopf).
SELECTED MUSEUM COLLECTIONS:
• Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, US
• Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, US
• Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA, US