MICHAEL A SHAPIRO

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Biography

Michael A Shapiro (born February 7, 1954) is an American photographer and artist.  Working with 35mm format Leica cameras, Shapiro began capturing images of what he called the “human landscape,” with many of the photographs including people in daily life and in fringe cultures such as Sioux Indians, Inuit, and rodeo cowboys.
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Shapiro started photographing in 1962. Originally trained by his father and through photography classes at the Sioux City Art Center, he continued to photograph, either commercially or personally for the next 38 years as health issues allowed. He also earned a bachelor degree in jazz performance and a graduate degree in poetry writing and translation.

Drawing from his tenure as artist/educator since 1972, Michael A Shapiro began photographing the human landscape full time in 2000.  His early work was influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith, and Robert Frank.

Between social documentary projects, in 2003, Shapiro made a series of photographs, published as a book, Paris.  Moving to Minneapolis in 2008, Shapiro photographed jazz musicians, urban infrastructure, and architectural detail.  The series “Looking Glass,” one of his few sets of color work and originally printed in large 32”x 40” format, is highly respected among fellow artists.

His current work continues to document the “human landscape” and should be considered in the documentary genre with that of Friedlander, Arbus, and Koudelka.

Shapiro spends a minimum of 20% of his time photographing poverty and other unjust conditions to raise social awareness.