Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

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Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Toni Morrison The Pieces I Am (46939703775).jpg
Greenfield-Sanders in 2019
Born (1952-02-16) February 16, 1952 (age 68)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
EducationColumbia University (BA)
American Film Institute (MFA)
Known forPhotography,
Documentary Films

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (born February 16, 1952) is an American documentary filmmaker and portrait photographer based in New York City. The majority of his work is shot in large format.[1]

Early life[edit]

Greenfield-Sanders was born on February 16, 1952, in Miami Beach, Florida, to Miami-based musician and teacher Ruth W. Greenfield (née Wolkowsky) and lawyer, Arnold Merwin Greenfield.[2][3][4] He graduated from Ransom Everglades School and received a B.A. in Art History from Columbia University in 1974 and a M.F.A. in film from the American Film Institute (A.F.I).[5][6]



Greenfield-Sanders has photographed six U.S. Presidents, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton, among many others.[7][8] Seven hundred of his art world portraits are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.[9] Greenfield-Sanders was on the masthead, as a contributing photographer, of Vanity Fair from 1990-2017. His work has been exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery, The Newseum, Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the The Annenberg Space for Photography.[10][11][12][13][14][15]


His first documentary film, Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, about the musician Lou Reed, won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video.[16] The film premiered in the U.S. at the Sundance Film Festival and in Europe at the Berlin Film Festival.[17] It aired on the American Masters series on PBS.[16]

Greenfield-Sanders exhibited "Thinking XXX", a series of clothed and nude portraits of porn stars at the Mary Boone Gallery from October 30 to December 18, 2004.[18] During the photo shoots for the exhibition he directed an HBO documentary, also called Thinking XXX, about the adult stars.[19] His son in-law Sebastian Blanck worked with him on Thinking XXX, as a composer.[20][21] On October 15th, 2004, Greenfield-Sanders was profiled on 60 Minutes.

Starting in 2008, Greenfield-Sanders directed and produced The Black List: Volumes 1, 2 and 3. "Volume 1" premiered at The Sundance Film Festival.[22] All three films aired on HBO. Portraits taken by Greenfield-Sanders for the project were first exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2008, then at Brooklyn Museum,[23] the Hartford Atheneum, and the Paley Center in New York City and Los Angeles.[24] From October 27, 2011 - April 22, 2012, all fifty images from the series were shown at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.[22] The Black List won an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary.

In 2010 and 2011, Greenfield-Sanders directed and produced The Latino List: Volumes 1 & 2. Both films aired on HBO. His portraits from the series were exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the High Museum in Atlanta. In 2012, he completed another film, About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, an examination of beauty through the eyes and lives of supermodels from the 1950s to the 1980s. This documentary premiered at The Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO on July 30, 2012.[25] He also directed and produced, "The Out List", which aired on HBO on October 27, 2013, just as the United States Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality.

On September 23, 2014, Greenfield-Sanders aired, on PBS' American Masters series, "The Boomer List", which starred well-known persons representing each of the baby boomer years of 1946–1964. His portraits of the 19 subjects were exhibited at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. On September 25, 2015, his film The Women's List aired on PBS' American Master series. His portraits of subjects from the documentary along with 35 other images of women, from his archive, were exhibited through December 31, 2015 at the Hearst Tower Alexey Brodovitch Gallery.

In 2016, Greenfield-Sanders directed and produced, The Trans List. Trans journalist and author, Janet Mock, conducted the interviews. The film received grants from The Ford Foundation, The Arcus Foundation and The Annenberg Foundation. Among the eleven subjects were Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox. It aired December 5, 2016 on HBO. In addition to the documentary, Greenfield-Sanders photographed 29 other trans subjects to include in his "list" survey exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography. This exhibition was the first time that all 151 portraits from the Black, Latino, Out, Women's and Trans 'list' projects were presented together. On December 4, 2016, Greenfield-Sanders was profiled on CBS Sunday Morning by Serena Altschul.

Greenfield-Sanders' latest film, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, premiered on January 27, 2019, at the Sundance Film Festival. The film explores the extraordinary life and artistry of Toni Morrison, the legendary Nobel laureate. Interviewees include Morrison, Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, Peter Sellars and Oprah Winfrey, among others.


Greenfield-Sanders won a Grammy Award for his film, Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary, The Black List: Volume 1. His film, Supermodels Then and Now won the 2012 Women's Image Network Awards for best documentary. On October 29, 2015, he received the Pratt Institute Legend Award at a ceremony in New York. It was presented by filmmaker, Darren Aronofsky.[26] His 2016 documentary, The Trans List was nominated for a GLAAD media award for best documentary. On May 19, 2017, Greenfield-Sanders received the Ransom Everglades Founder's Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the Community. "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am" won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary in 2019 and in 2020 was nominated for three Emmy Awards for Best Arts & Culture Documentary, Best Research and Best Music.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to lawyer, Karin Greenfield-Sanders (née Sanders). They have two children, painter Isca Greenfield-Sanders and filmmaker, Liliana Greenfield-Sanders.[27]


  1. ^ "Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Presents "The Black List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders" - Newsdesk". si.edu. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "How two friends started Florida's first interracial arts school". Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  3. ^ Ruth LaFerla "When Beauty Fades" The New York Times July 25, 2012.
  4. ^ "Age Becomes Her: HBO's New Documentary, About Face: Supermodels Then and Now - Timothy Greenfield-Sanders". greenfield-sanders.com. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  5. ^ Simonsandschuster.ca Archived 2012-07-07 at Archive.today
  6. ^ Rose, Kernochan (Winter 2017). "The Trans List". Columbia College Today. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  7. ^ "The Elegant Portraiture of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders - Shutterbug". shutterbug.com. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  8. ^ "Politics - Timothy Greenfield-Sanders". greenfield-sanders.com. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  9. ^ "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq: Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders - Exhibitions - Steven Kasher Gallery". www.stevenkasher.com. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  10. ^ "IDENTITY: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders The List Portraits". Annenberg Space for Photography. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  11. ^ "The Out List". The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  12. ^ SisumD (December 3, 2015). "The Black List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders". npg.si.edu. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  13. ^ Newseum. "Portraits of 19 Newsmaking Baby Boomers To Be Displayed in New Newseum Exhibit". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  14. ^ "Brooklyn Museum: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders: The Latino List". www.brooklynmuseum.org. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "The Latino List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders". High Museum of Art. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "timothy-greenfield-sanders's Awards". stocklandmartel.com. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  17. ^ Williamturnergallery.com Archived 2012-06-22 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Mary Boone Gallery - Timothy Greenfield-Sanders". maryboonegallery.com. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  19. ^ bob the moo (October 28, 2004). "Thinking XXX (TV Movie 2004)". IMDb. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  20. ^ "Thinking XXX". IMDB.
  21. ^ "WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS; Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Sebastian Blanck". The New York Times. August 24, 2003. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  22. ^ a b Npg.si.edu
  23. ^ "Brooklyn Museum: The Black List Project: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Elvis Mitchell". brooklynmuseum.org. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  24. ^ "The Black List Project". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  25. ^ Rooney, David. "About Face: Sundance Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter.
  26. ^ Greenfield-Sanders, Timothy. "Pratt Institute Announces Honorees for Legends 2015". Pratt.edu. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  27. ^ "Mover & Shaker: Isca Greenfield-Sanders". Veronica Beard. Archived from the original on January 6, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2015.

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