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, unusual, landscapes with ethereal light achieved by photographing at dawn or at night with exposures of up to 10 hours.

Life and work[edit]

Kenna attended Upholland College in Lancashire, the Banbury School of Art in Oxfordshire, and the London College of Printing. In the 1980s, he 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 4×5 large format camera was employed.

His work has been shown in galleries and museum exhibitions in Asia, Australia and Europe. He has photographs 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.


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


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


  1. ^ Printed for Ruth Bernhard
  2. ^ Interview with Tim Baskerville
  3. ^ Esther's Diary (2010) end credits

External links[edit]