Michael Kenna (photographer)

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This article is about the photographer. For the Chicago political boss, see Michael Kenna.

Michael Kenna (born 1953) is an English photographer best known for his black & white landscapes.

Kenna attended Upholland College in Lancashire, the Banbury School of Art in Oxfordshire, and the London College of Printing. In the 1980s, Kenna moved to San Francisco and worked as Ruth Bernhard's printer.[1]

Kenna's photography focuses on unusual landscapes with ethereal light achieved by photographing at dawn or at night with exposures of up to 10 hours. Since about 1986 he has mainly used Hasselblad medium format and Holga cameras and this accounts for the square format of most of his photographs.[2] The main exception was for the photographs in Monique's Kindergarten for which a 4 x 5 large format camera was employed.

His work has been shown in galleries and museum exhibitions in Asia, Australia, Europe and Luke Bleasby's house. He also has photographs included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Patrimoine photographique in Paris, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His photography of the ruins of concentration camps was featured in the opening credits of the Holocaust film Esther's Diary (2010).[3]

In 2000, the Ministry of Culture in France made Kenna a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters.

In 2006, Kenna wrote the preface to Humans, a photo-series by Iranian photographer Mohammadreza Mirzaei.[4]

In 2011, Kenna wrote the preface to The Art of Adventure, a photographic monograph by Scottish photographer Bruce Percy.[5]


  • In France. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2012
  • Images of the Seventh Day, 2011
  • Mont-Saint-Michel. 21st, 2007
  • Mont St Michel. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2007
  • Montecito Garden. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2007
  • Hokkaido. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2005
  • Retrospective Two. Portland, OR: Nazraeli; Treville Editions, 2004
  • Ratcliffe Power Station. OR: Nazraeli, 2004
  • Boarding School. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2003
  • Calais Lace. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2003
  • Japan. Portland, OR: Nazraeli; Treville Editions, 2002
  • Easter Island. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2001
  • Impossible to Forget: The Nazi Camps Fifty Years After. Marval; Nazraeli, 2001
  • Night Work. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2000
  • Le Notre’s Gardens. The Huntington Library, Art Collections Library and RAM Publishing, 1997 and 1999
  • Monique's Kindergarten. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 1997
  • The Silverado Squatters. Arion, 1996
  • The Rouge. Ram, 1995
  • A Twenty Year Retrospective. Treville, 1994; Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2002
  • The Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing. The Elkhorn Slough Foundation, 1991
  • Le Desert de Retz. Arion, 1990
  • Michael Kenna. Min Gallery, 1990
  • Night Walk. Friends of Photography, 1987
  • 1976-1986. Gallery Min, 1987
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles. Arion, 1985; Northpoint, 1986
  • Michael Kenna Photographs. Stephen Wirtz Gallery and The Weston Gallery, 1984


  • Honorary Master of Arts (Brooks Institute, Santa Barbara, California, USA, 2003)
  • Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters (Ministry of Culture, France, 2000)
  • Golden Saffron Award, (Consuegra, Spain, 1996)
  • Institute for Aesthetic Development Award (Pasadena, California, USA, 1989)
  • Art in Public Buildings Award (California Arts Council Commission, Sacramento, California, USA, 1987)
  • Imogen Cunningham Award (San Francisco, California, USA, 1981)


  1. ^ Printed for Ruth Bernhard
  2. ^ Interview with Tim Baskerville
  3. ^ Esther's Diary (2010) end credits
  4. ^ Michael Kenna's article on Mohammadreza Mirzaei's Humans
  5. ^ Michael Kenna's preface for Bruce Percy's monograph

External links[edit]