Michael Ernest Sweet

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Michael Ernest Sweet
Sweet in front of his family home, Martock House
Sweet in front of his family home, Martock House
Born1979 (age 41–42)
Martock, Nova Scotia, Canada
OccupationPhotographer, writer, educator
EducationJohns Hopkins University
Concordia University
Nipissing University
St. Mary's University
GenreStreet photography, journalism, essay
Notable worksThe Human Fragment; Michael Sweet's Coney Island
Notable awardsQEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.svg Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Canadian Prime Minister's Award
Years active1996–present

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Michael Ernest Sweet (born 1979) is a Canadian photographer, writer, and educator. He is the author of two books of street photography, The Human Fragment[1] and Michael Sweet's Coney Island.


Sweet was born and raised on his family's farm in Martock, Nova Scotia. He taught in public schools in Montreal, Quebec, from 2003 to 2015 and founded Learning for a Cause,[2][3] which earned him two of Canada's highest civilian honors for service to education, A Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence[4] and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.[5] Sweet was also a finalist for a 2011 Governor General's Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History[6] and has been added to the Wall of Fame at the National Teachers Hall of Fame in the United States.[7] As of 2019, Sweet was listed on the faculty at the Robert Louis Stevenson School, a private therapeutic day school in Manhattan, New York.[8]

Photography and writing[edit]

Sweet is known for his oddly-framed, gritty,[9] low-fi,[10] close-up street photography, as well as for his use of cheap cameras, including disposable and instant cameras.[11][12] He is the author of two street photography monographs, The Human Fragment,[13] which earned him praise from photographers Jay Maisel and Roger Ballen,[14] and Michael Sweet's Coney Island, which received praise from photographer Martin Parr.[15] Sweet's grainy close-up black and white shots of Coney Island, earned him a "passing of the torch" in an endorsement from the Coney Island photographer Harold Feinstein,[16] who spent most of his life documenting the famous urban beach. His photography often consists of "human fragments"—partial views of people on the street.[17][18] His works are mainly presented in black and white, with a grainy texture.[19]

Sweet's photography has won both a portfolio and spotlight prize in Black and White Magazine,[20] a 2020 LifeFramer Award,[21] and a Popular Photography 2013 prize.[citation needed] Sweet has written for the Evergreen Review,[22] Canadian Teacher Magazine,[23] Reed Magazine,[24] English Journal,[25] Photo Life Magazine[26] and others. He was a regular blogger for The Huffington Post photography section from 2014 until early 2017. [27] Sweet has been a member of the curator team for the World Street Photography organization.[28]

In 2018, Sweet appeared in Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable, a feature-length documentary film on the life of photographer Garry Winogrand produced by Sasha Waters Freyer. In 2021, Sweet appeared in the film, Fill The Frame, a documentary about street photography in New York City.

Sweet wrote for Canada's Photo Life magazine from 2015 until its closure in 2021.[29] He now contributes regularly to the websites F-Stop Magazine and FStoppers.[30][31]

Personal life[edit]

Sweet is married to poet Matthew Hittinger.[32]


Books of work by Sweet[edit]

  • The Human Fragment. Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn Arts, 2013. Second edition, 2017. ISBN 978-1936767243. With a foreword by Michael Musto.
  • Michael Sweet's Coney Island. Brooklyn, New York: Brooklyn Arts, 2015. ISBN 978-1936767403.
  • Disposable Camera. Purple Poetry, 2016. ISBN 978-0987756466.

Booklets of work by Sweet[edit]

  • The Street Photography Bible: an Opinionated Little Guide to Street Photography. Self-published, 2014. ISBN 978-1499374438.


  1. ^ "New York Noir: Capturing the City's Grit and Grime". Hyperallergic. February 26, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Montreal Students Get Down to Earth". Canadian Teacher Magazine. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  3. ^ "Publishing Student Work Validates Young Voices". Montreal Families Magazine.
  4. ^ "Prime Minister's Awards For Teaching Excellence".
  5. ^ "Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal Database". The Governor General of Canada.
  6. ^ "Michael Sweet and Raymond Tomasino Finalists for Governor General's Award for Teaching History". Archived from the original on November 21, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "National Teachers Hall of Fame Database". NTHF.
  8. ^ "Faculty Directory". Robert Louis Stevenson School.
  9. ^ "Canadian Street Interview with Michael Sweet".
  10. ^ "La street photography Lo-Fi de Michael Ernest Sweet". Fisheye Magazine (France).
  11. ^ "Instinct Interview: Photographer Michael Ernest Sweet". Instinct Magazine.
  12. ^ "Michael Sweet's Disposable Camera". The Huffington Post.
  13. ^ "The Sweet & The Tough". Out Magazine.
  14. ^ "The Human Fragment, Advance Praise". Brooklyn Arts Press.
  15. ^ "Michael Sweet's Coney Island, Advance Praise". Brooklyn Arts Press.
  16. ^ "The Human Fragment, Photographs by Michael Ernest Sweet". World in Photo. Archived from the original on December 23, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  17. ^ "Michael Ernest Sweet: Attraction to the Human Fragment". Leica Camera AG.
  18. ^ "Michael Ernest Sweet Discusses The Human Fragment and What He Hates About Digital Photography". The Village Voice.
  19. ^ "New York Noir: Capturing The City's Grit & Grime". Hyperallergic.
  20. ^ "B&W 2013 Portfolio Contest Winners". Black and White Magazine.
  21. ^ "Winners 2020 - The Human Body". Life Framer.
  22. ^ "The Evergreen Review, Issue 119". Evergreen Review. Archived from the original on July 8, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  23. ^ "Controversy in the Classroom". Canadian Teacher Magazine. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  24. ^ "About Reed Magazine". San Jose State University.
  25. ^ "English Journal, Vol. 98, No. 4". National Council of Teachers of English.
  26. ^ "Photo Life Contributing Writers".
  27. ^ "Michael Ernest Sweet HuffPost Article Archive". HuffPost.
  28. ^ "World Street Photography Curator Team".
  29. ^ "Contributors & Editorial Staff". Photo Life Magazine.
  30. ^ "Contributors & Editorial Staff". F-Stop Magazine.
  31. ^ "Meet The Writers". FStoppers.com.
  32. ^ "Creative Couples: Interview with Michael Sweet & Matthew Hittinger (p. 34-37)" (PDF). Poets & Artists Magazine.

External links[edit]