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Michael Kenna Edit Profile


Michael Kenna 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.


Kenna, Michael was born on November 20, 1953 in Widnes, Cheshire, England.


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. 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. 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).


  • 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).