Education and career
Michals's interest in art "began at age 14 while attending watercolor university classes at the Carnegie Institute [Carnegie Museum of Art] in Pittsburgh." In 1953 he received a B.A. from the University of Denver. After two years in the Army, in 1956 he went on to study at the Parsons School of Design with a plan to become a graphic designer; however, he did not complete his studies.
He describes his photographic skills as "completely self-taught." In 1958 while on a holiday in the USSR he discovered an interest in photography. The photographs he made during this trip became his first exhibition held in 1963 at the Underground Gallery in New York City.
For a number of years, Michals was a commercial photographer, working for Esquire and Mademoiselle, and he covered the filming of The Great Gatsby for Vogue (1974). He did not have a studio. Instead, he took portraits of people in their environment, which was a contrast to the method of other photographers at the time, such as Avedon and Irving Penn.
Michals was hired by the government of Mexico to photograph the 1968 Summer Olympics. In 1970 his works were shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The portraits he took between 1958 and 1988 would later become the basis of his book, Album.
In 1976 Michals received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Michals also produced the art for the album Synchronicity (by The Police) in 1983, and Richard Barone's Clouds Over Eden album in 1993.
Artistic influences and impact
Though he has not been involved in gay civil rights, his photography has addressed gay themes. In discussing his notion of the artist's relationship to politics and power however, Michals feels ultimately that aspirations are useless:
I feel the political aspirations are impotent. They can never be seen. If they are, it will only be by a limited audience. If one is to act politically, one simply puts down the camera and goes out and does something. I think of someone like Hartfeld who ridiculed the Nazis. Who very creatively took great stands. He could have been killed at any moment, he was Jewish, and my God what the guy did. It was extraordinary. You don’t see that now.
Michals cites Balthus, William Blake, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Eakins, René Magritte, and Walt Whitman as influences on his art. In turn, he has influenced photographers such as David Levinthal and Francesca Woodman.
He is noted for two innovations in artistic photography developed in the 1960s and 1970s. First, he "[told] a story through a series of photos" as in his 1970 book Sequences. Second, he handwrote text near his photographs, thereby giving information that the image itself could not convey.
- 1970 Museum of Modern Art, New York
- 1971 George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
- 1999 Odakyu Museum, Tokyo
- 2005 International Center of Photography, New York
- 2008 Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Greece
- 2008 Scavi Scaligeri, Verona, Italy
- 2013 DC Moore Gallery, NY
His work has been included in numerous group shows including, “Cosmos” at the Musée de Beaux-Arts de Montréal (1999), “The Century of the Body: Photoworks 1900-2000” at the Musée de l'Élysée, Lausanne (1999), “From Camouflage to Free Style” at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1999), and “The Ecstasy of Things” at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland. 
- Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society, 1991.
- Gold medal for photography, National Arts Club, 1994.
- Masters Series Award, School of Visual Arts, 2000.
- Michals, Duane. Sequences. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970.
- Michals, Duane. The journey of the spirit after death. New York: Winter House, 1971. ISBN 0-87806-025-1
- Michals, Duane. Chance meeting; photographs. Köln: A. & J. Wilde, 1973.
- Michals, Duane. Take one and see Mt. Fujiyama, and other stories. Rochester, NY: distributed by Light Impressions, 1976. ISBN 0-916614-00-X
- Michals, Duane. Real dreams: photostories. Danbury, NH: Addison House, 1976. ISBN 0-89169-005-0
- Michals, Duane. Merveilles d'Egypt. Paris: Denoël-Filipacchi, 1978.
- Michals, Duane, and Constantine Cavafy. Homage to Cavafy. Danbury, NH: Addison House, 1978. ISBN 0-89169-019-0
- Michals, Duane. A visit with Magritte. Providence, RI: Matrix, 1981. ISBN 0-936554-05-3
- Michals, Duane. Duane Michals. London: Thames and Hudson, 1983. ISBN 0-500-41071-2
- Michals, Duane, and Marco Livingstone. Duane Michals: photographs, sequences, texts, 1958-1984. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 1984. ISBN 0-905836-46-4
- Michals, Duane. Sleep and dream. New York: Lustrum Press, 1984. ISBN 0-912810-46-7
- Michals, Duane. Duane Michals. New York: Pantheon Books; Paris: Centre National de la Photographie, 1986. ISBN 0-394-74446-2
- Michals, Duane. Album: the portraits of Duane Michals, 1958-1988. Pasadena, CA: Twelvetrees Press, 1988. ISBN 0-942642-36-8
- Michals, Duane, and Max Kozloff. Now becoming then. Altadena, CA: Twin Palms, 1990. ISBN 0-944092-12-8
- Michals, Duane. Eros & Thanatos. Santa Fe, NM: Twin Palms, 1992. ISBN 0-944092-20-9
- Salter, James, and Duane Michals. Still such. New York: W. Drenttel, 1992. ISBN 0-9625224-2-2
- Michals, Duane. Salute, Walt Whitman. Santa Fe, NM: Twin Palms, 1996. ISBN 0-944092-34-9
- Michals, Duane, and Marco Livingstone. The essential Duane Michals. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1997. ISBN 0-8212-2463-8
- Michals, Duane. Questions without answers. Santa Fe, NM: Twin Palms, 2001. ISBN 0-944092-86-1
- Michals, Duane. The house I once called home: a photographic memoir with verse. London: Enitharmon Editions, 2003. ISBN 1-900564-73-4
- Michals, Duane. Foto follies: how photography lost its virginity on the way to the bank. Göttingen: Steidl, 2006. ISBN 3-86521-275-1
- Michals, Duane, and Joel Grey. The adventures of Constantine Cavafy. Santa Fe, NM: Twin Palms, 2007. ISBN 978-1-931885-54-6
- Michals, Duane. Duane Michals. London: Thames & Hudson, 2008. ISBN 978-0-500-41071-4
- Duane Michals biography. Grove Art Online, 2003.
- McKenna, Kristine (1993-03-14). "Picture imperfect: for maverick Duane Michals, a photo is worth far less than a thousand words when the questions are about the very meaning of truth". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- School of Visual Arts (2000-09-18 through 2000-10-21). "Masters Series: Duane Michals". Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- Shaw, Kurt (2004-11-18). "Pictures of a life". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- Phillips, Ian (1999-09-10). "Arts: angels in America". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- Museum of Modern Art (1970-10-07 through 1970-12-06). "Stories By Duane Michals (press release)". Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- Barone, Richard (2007). Frontman: surviving the rock star myth. New York: Backbeat Books. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-87930-912-1.
- Murtha, Tara (2008-04-30). "Photographer Duane Michals discusses his gay-themed work". Philadelphia Weekly.
- Provenzano, Jim (2007-07-05). "The poet's eye: photographer Duane Michals visualizes Cavafy poems". Bay Area Reporter.
- Seidner, David."Duane Michaels Interview" BOMB Magazine Summer, 1987. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- Levinthal, David (2000). "Duane Michals". Photo District News.
- Gabhart, Ann (1986). Francesca Woodman, photographic work. Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College Museum. p. 54. OCLC 13474131.
- Smith, Rosalind (December 2003). "Duane Michals: getting to the heart with a wry eye". Shutterbug. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- Bailey, Ronald H. (1975). The photographic illusion, Duane Michals. New York: Crowell. ISBN 0-690-00787-6.
- Winterhalter, Teresa (1997). "Desire under the lens: critical perspective in a Duane Michals photograph". Literature and Theology 11 (3): 229–238. doi:10.1093/litthe/11.3.229.
- Todd-Raque, Jennifer (2006). "Duane Michals". In Warren, Lynne. Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography. New York: Routledge. pp. 1043–1046. ISBN 1-57958-393-8.
Film and video
- Howard, Edgar B., and Theodore R. Haimes. Duane Michals (1939-1997). NY: Checkerboard Film Foundation, 1978. (DVD, 14 minutes, B&W/color.)
- Diamonstein, Barbaralee. Visions and Images: Duane Michals (American Photographers on Photography). American Broadcasting Companies, 1981. (Video, 29 minutes, B&W/color.)
- Fahey/Klein Gallery. Duane Michals. Personal page. Portfolio of 39 images.
- Weinberg, Jonathan. "Things are queer." Originally published in Art Journal, December 22, 1996.
- Duane Michals. Photo District News, PDN Legends Online, 1998.
- Cotter, James A. Duane Michals. photo insider, April–June 1999.
- Vettese, John. Duane Michals. Temple University page, 2001.
- Smith, Rosalind. Duane Michals: getting to the heart with a wry eye. Shutterbug, December 2003.
- Svede, Mark Allen. Michals, Duane (b. 1932). glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture, February 7, 2004.
- 2004 Hall of fame: Duane Michals. New York: Art Directors Club, 2004.
- Pace/MacGill Gallery. Duane Michals. c. 2008.
- BOMB Magazine interview with Duane Michals by David Seidner (Summer, 1987).