Timeless: 50 Years of Mastery

The McQueen Showroom | Hilton Contemporary

12 May - 15 July 2023

We are excited to feature the works of legendary photographer and printer, Michael Kenna whose photographs are held in the permanent collections of over 100 leading museums worldwide.

In the beginning, Michael worked as the assistant and printer for the renowned photographer Ruth Bernhard, making prints in her kitchen darkroom, under her supervision, along with endless conversations that shaped his approach to his craft. Michael learned a great deal from Ruth. Particularly impressive to him was the creativity she had with the negatives to achieve compositional and tonal precision. As Michael says, “a good print should demand to be observed, constantly.”

Michael has a distinctively unique minimalist quality to the composition of his images. He takes a very deliberative and reflective path for his images enjoying slowly setting up, considering, observing, and thinking before he photographs. He has used the same medium format analog film cameras for almost 40 years and all his images are done on film preferring the “long, slow journey of the sliver medium”. Several of his images are captured on multi-hour-long exposures, loving the long exposures where he waits and contemplates. During long time-exposures, the real can become surreal.

What differentiates Michael from so many photographers is that he doesn’t just take the photograph Michael makes every print himself, in his own darkroom, burning and dodging to perfect the balance and produce these jewel-like images. As Michael says, “a good print should demand to be observed, constantly.” This process for half a century is truly unique in its consistency; photographs taken in ’70’s are indistinguishable from a photograph taken today all glowing to their fullest potential with Michael’s patient, attentive and caring process. Old-school he knows – but truly the work of a rare master.

The McQueen Collection | Hilton Contemporary

The McQueen is a feature showroom of Hilton Contemporary, a member of the MAC community. Hilton Contemporary specializes in modern and contemporary paintings, works on paper, mixed media and sculpture with a special focus on photography.

Contact Details

River North: Monday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Bridgeport: By Appt Only