Michael Ernest Sweet

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Michael Ernest Sweet
Born (1979-03-23) March 23, 1979 (age 40)
Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada
OccupationPhotographer, Writer, Educator
EducationJohns Hopkins University (MLA)
Concordia University (MA)
Nipissing University (B.Ed.)
St. Mary's University (BA)
GenreStreet Photography, Journalism, Essay
Notable worksThe Human Fragment, Michael Sweet's Coney Island

Michael Ernest Sweet (born March 23, 1979) is a Canadian photographer, writer and educator.


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,[1][2] which earned him two of Canada's highest civilian honors for service to education, A Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence[3] and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.[4] Sweet was also a finalist for a 2011 Governor General's Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History.[5] As of 2017, Sweet is listed on the faculty at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan[6]

Photography and writing[edit]

Sweet is known for his oddly-framed, gritty,[7] low-fi,[8] close-up street photography, as well as for his use of cheap cameras, including disposable and instant cameras.[9][10] Combined, these elements form a distinct signature making Sweet's work instantly recognizable. He is the author of two street photography monographs, The Human Fragment, which earned him praise from photographers Jay Maisel and Roger Ballen, as well as the attention of New York arts writer and critic Michael Musto,[11] and Michael Sweet's Coney Island, which received praise from photographer Martin Parr. Sweet's most notable photographic work, grainy close-up black and white shots of Coney Island, earned him a "passing of the torch" in an endorsement from photographer Harold Feinstein,[12] 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.[13][14] His works are mainly presented in black and white, with a grainy texture.[15]

Sweet's photography has won a portfolio and spotlight prize in Black and White Magazine,[16] and a Popular Photography 2013 prize.[citation needed] Sweet has written for the Evergreen Review, Canadian Teacher Magazine, Reed Magazine, English Journal, Photo Life Magazine and others.[17][18][19][20] He was a regular blogger for The Huffington Post photography section from 2014 until early 2017. Sweet is currently a judge and member of the curator team for the World Street Photography organization,[21] as well as a contributing writer for Photo Life Magazine.[22]

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.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Sweet is married to poet Matthew Hittinger.[24] They live in New York City.[citation needed]


  • The Human Fragment. Brooklyn, New York: Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1936767243.
  • Michael Sweet's Coney Island. Brooklyn, New York: Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1936767403.
  • Disposable Camera. Purple Poetry Press, 2016. ISBN 978-0987756466.


  1. ^ "Montreal Students Get Down to Earth". Canadian Teacher Magazine.
  2. ^ "Publishing Student Work Validates Young Voices". Montreal Families Magazine.
  3. ^ "Prime Minister's Awards For Teaching Excellence".
  4. ^ "Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal Database". The Governor General of Canada.
  5. ^ "Michael Sweet and Raymond Tomasino Finalists for Governor General's Award for Teaching History". Archived from the original on 2015-11-21. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  6. ^ "Faculty Directory". The Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan.
  7. ^ "Canadian Street Interview with Michael Sweet".
  8. ^ "La street photography Lo-Fi de Michael Ernest Sweet". Fisheye Magazine (France).
  9. ^ "Instinct Interview: Photographer Michael Ernest Sweet". Instinct Magazine.
  10. ^ "Michael Sweet's Disposable Camera". The Huffington Post.
  11. ^ "The Sweet & The Tough". Out Magazine.
  12. ^ "The Human Fragment, Photographs by Michael Ernest Sweet". World in Photo. Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  13. ^ "Michael Ernest Sweet: Attraction to the Human Fragment". Leica Camera AG.
  14. ^ "Michael Ernest Sweet Discusses The Human Fragment and What He Hates About Digital Photography". The Village Voice.
  15. ^ "New York Noir: Capturing The City's Grit & Grime". Hyperallergic.
  16. ^ "B&W 2013 Portfolio Contest Winners". Black and White Magazine.
  17. ^ "The Evergreen Review, Issue 119". Evergreen Review. Archived from the original on 2016-07-08. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  18. ^ "Controversy in the Classroom". Canadian Teacher Magazine. Archived from the original on 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  19. ^ "About Reed Magazine". San Jose State University.
  20. ^ "English Journal, Vol. 98, No. 4". National Council of Teachers of English.
  21. ^ "World Street Photography Curator Team".
  22. ^ "Photo Life Contributing Writers".
  23. ^ "Michael Ernest Sweet". IMDb.
  24. ^ "Creative Couples: Interview with Michael Sweet & Matthew Hittinger (p. 34-37)" (PDF). Poets & Artists Magazine.