|Born||June 5, 1940|
Johannesburg, South Africa
Michael Meyersfeld is an award-winning fine art photographer living and working in Johannesburg, South Africa. Born to a South African mother and French-German father, Meyersfeld’s interest in photography began at a very early age when he made his first contact prints from a Baby Brownie camera under a stairwell at his family home in Johannesburg. He was schooled at King Edward Vll, and attained a B.Com. in 1961, from the University of the Witwatersrand, after which he joined the family steel merchandising business. During the following two decades Meyersfeld ran a dual life, that of business, as well as the ever-growing love affair with photography, stimulated by the members of the Camera Club of Johannesburg. This period, under the tutelage of some very progressive members of the Club, saw his solidifying interest in fine art photography, the mounting of several exhibitions, and establishing himself on the International Salon Circuit.
Michael Meyersfeld is known for his strong narrative-based images in both the fine art and the advertising genre. He is known for his stark, sometimes sombre, lonely and edgy imagery presented as social commentary, for images with subtle nuances such as fear, titillation and humour designed to portray emotional and behavioural patterns.
He recently achieved his Honours in History of Art from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and is currently working on his Masters. He lives in Johannesburg with his wife Saranne.
Advertising and Fine Art Photography
At 47, he left the family business and for the next twenty years worked as an advertising photographer, all the while exhibiting his fine art work.
Most of Meyersfeld’s photographs require a level of ‘staging’, to create his recognisable style of image and his experience and success in advertising contributed to these representations. His practice as an artist has always been informed by a strong sense of planning, by attention to aspects such as finding the correct location, selecting the cast and the wardrobe. As examples, Life Staged, a series consisting of four bodies of work, 12 Naked Men (2007), Woman Undone, (date), Guests at the Troyeville Hotel (date) and Urban Disquiet (date), all attest to Meyersfeld’s preference to construct images with the make-believe allure of theatrical performance. ‘Each image can perhaps be compared to a “still” from a movie,’ he argues in his artist’s statement on the subject, ‘except that this one image must contain all the emotions that would perhaps require several minutes of film.
Meyersfeld noted he was never entirely comfortable with the comment “ lonely “often applied to his work. But later, in 2013, Dr. Gerhard Schoeman used the word “ stillness “ to describe Seapoint Swimmers one of Meyersfeld ’s images in his publication “ Thinking Photographs - Art, History, Time and Reproducibility “. For the first time, Meyersfeld resonated with that intuitively applied adjective, stating: “It is perhaps this stillness, that enthrals me. I feel that for the most part, we live in a world so frantic, that we forget the beauty of the creation of stillness and how it can impact on our lives. Whether it is the stillness of joy, or the inevitable stillness of death, there is inherent in nature, a facet of beauty”. (Meyersfeld 2013)
Gradually the representational has made way for pictures that happen without planning, intuitive images that could be read as abstractions, as less representational, less reliant on meaning and understanding, more inclined to be felt, to be experienced. In Meyersfeld’s recent collection of images the volume of the external world have been turned down in order that both the artist and the viewer could hear and feel the silence. His recent pictures “require a different type of eye, not the eye indoctrinated to understand, to fathom, to find a narrative. With an eye liberated from the dominant quest to find and attach meaning, more faculties, other than just the cerebral, are employed to sense and experience form, shape, texture, play of light, distance, connections and conversations between the photographs” (Johan Myburg, 2018).
Meyersfeld photography began at a very young age.
He obtained a B.Com degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. He entered the world of professional photography in 1970. His fine art and commercial work co-existed for the next 20 years. In 1998 his focus changed to fine art; exhibition and publications.
Meyersfeld has won numerous awards, the most recent being a Gold at the London AOP Awards.
AOP Awards London
- 2010 - Gold Non-Commissioned Body Single (Alex Church)
- 2008 - 3 Bronze (Mercedes SLK Campaign)
- 2010 - Gold Award – Kalahari.net Campaign
Sony Profoto Awards, South Africa
- 2010 - Picture of the Year - Professional Category (Alex Church)
- 2010 - 2 Silver Awards - Professional Advertising Category (Ecomist Campaign)
- 2010 - 1 Gold Award - Professional Photo Journalism Category (Alex Church)
- 2009 - 1 Gold Award - Professional Advertising Category (Yum Yum Purple)
Cannes Lions Advertising Festival
- 2008 - Finalist (Olay)
- 2005 - 2 Gold Lions, 1 Silver lion (Nugget First Campaign)
The One Show, New York
- 2006 - 1 Bronze Pencil (Durex Campaign)
- 2005 - 2 Silver Pencils, 1 Bronze (Nugget First Campaign)
The Andys, New York
- 2007 - Bronze Statue (Post - it)
- 2006 - Bronze statue (Nugget First Campaign)
Clios Advertising Awards, USA
- 2005 - 2 Silver Statues, 1 Bronze Statue (Nugget First Campaign)
New York Advertising Festival
- 2007 - 1 Gold World Medal (Post - it)
- 2007 - 1 Grand Prix, 1 Gold (Mercedes SLK Campaign)
- 2006 - 1 bronze World Medal (Durex and Nugget Second Campaign)
- 2005 - 2 Gold World Medals, 1 Silver World Medal (Nugget First Campaign)
London International Advertising Awards
- 2008 - 1 Silver (Olay)
- 2006 - 1 Winner Statue
- 2005 - 1 Winner Statue
- 2004 - 1 Winner Statue
The Eagle Awards
- 2008 - Bronze (Olay)
- 2006 - Bronze Eagle
Creative Circle (South Africa) & Ad of the Month
- 2006 - 1 Winner in February
- 2005 - 4 Winners in January, February, May & June
The Loerie Awards, South Africa
- 2010 - Bronze Certificate (Communication & Design) Isuzu Big Mother Trucker Campaign.
- 2010 - 1 Bronze (South African National Blood Service)
- 2008 - 1 Bronze (Tipp-Ex)
- 2008 - 1 Bronze (Olay)
- 2007 - 3 Bronze Loeries
- 2006 - 1 Silver Loerie
- 2005 - 2 Silver Loeries, 4 Bronze Loeries
- 2019: November. Notional. The Henry George Gallery. Johannesburg.
- 2018: July. Accessing the Encoded. Gallery 2.
- 2018: Rossouw Modern Art Gallery. Hermanus. (together with St.John Fuller).
- 2018: April. 'Adaptation' Fried Contemporary.
- 2017: June. 'Adaptation'. In Toto Gallery - Johannesburg.
- 2016: August. Waka Waka. Group Show. Agog Gallery. Maboneng, Johannesburg.
- 2015: October. Pretoria Art Museum. " Stillness " and " Dark City Dreams ".
- 2015: July. Everard Read - Johannesburg. " When Feelings Associate a Consciousness Forms " together with Ricky Burnett.
- 2014: Dark City Dreams: Phutaditjaba Community Centre (Alexandra Township)
- 2014: Dark City Dreams: In Toto Gallery, Birdhaven, Johannesburg
- 2014: Dark City Dreams: South African Jewish Museum, Cape Town
- 2014: The Benediction of Shade 2: Group Show, David Krut Projects
- 2014: Fried Contemporary: Group
- 2014: Bayliss Gallery: Group
- 2013: Meyersfeld - Braunschweig '13. Villa von Amsberg.
- 2013: Group Exhibition: In Toto Gallery
- 2013: Discordance: University of Johannesburg Gallery
- 2012: Group Exhibition: South African Jewish Museum
- 2012: Retrospective: ABSA Gallery
- 2011: Transience: In Toto Gallery
- 2010: Life Staged: Obert Contemporary
- 2007: David Brown Gallery
- 2004: Photo ZA Gallery
- 2001: Paris Photo
- 2001: Photo ZA Gallery
- 1995: Everard Read Gallery
- 1986: The Photo Gallery
- 1982: Marker Photo Gallery
- 1980: Pentax Gallery
- 1979: Gallery Querschnitt
- 1978: Goodman Gallery
- 1977: SA Pentax Gallery
- 1975: Nedbank Gallery
Work in selected public collections
- Johannesburg Art Gallery
- ABSA permanent collection
- Constitutional Court of South Africa - permanent collection
- 2010 - Gold Non-Commissioned Body Single - http://entries.the-awards.com/myentry_public_popup.php?&eid=3225&i_no=0&awd_cat_id=33
- 2009 Sony PROFOTO Awards - "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2012-06-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- ABSA Retrospective - "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-12. Retrieved 2012-06-15. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Els, Carien (8 August 2011). "A brief look: A transient life by Michael Meyersfeld". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 25 July 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- David Brown Gallery - http://www.davidbrownfineart.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26&Itemid=16
- GAZE - ISBN 0-620-29066-8
- Life Staged - ISBN 978-0-620-48049-9