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.
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 cameras and this accounts for the square format of most of his photographs. The main exception was for the photographs in Monique’s Kindergarten for which a 5 x 4 large format camera was employed.
His work has been shown in galleries and museum exhibitions in Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. 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. In 2000, the Ministry of Culture in France made Kenna a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters. (wikipedia)
Imagine being out at night, alone, under starry skies, listening to silence, watching the world slowly move, all senses alive, thinking, imagining, and dreaming. The camera is recording, creating, documenting, seeing what the eye cannot see – cumulative time. Or imagine the sensation of being in a field as the snow falls on a single, exquisite tree. White all around. Just the sound of snow falling. Or again, the crashing of angry waves, pre dawn, against white sand, clouds in the sky, a glow on the horizon from the slowly wakening sun. Then call that “work.” There are moments when the elements of life come together magically; conditions, places, subject matter, inner connections; moments that are singular and very special. It is a privilege to be present at such times and to have the possibility to integrate into the scene and subjectively interpret. It is an experience that defies description, at least from me. These experiences drive my photography. I think it is a wonderful way to go through life. I love almost all aspects of the photographic process; planning, traveling, searching, image making, seeing the first contact sheets, printing, exhibiting, making books, everything. I am a very lucky person to have found this path and am extremely content. (The Light)