Biographies

Stephen WILKES was born in 1957. He began to photograph from his 12 years old, a passion which will not leave him. Stephen WILKES studied at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, he graduated with a bachelor of science in photography. Specialized in communication, the school allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the media’s history and uses. Then, he opened his studio in New-York City in 1983 and has kept on photographing since that day.

Stephen WILKES photographs for commercials, for publishers, for himself and above all for the others. His photos are made to be shown to the largest audience possible. They testify of a high degree of self-abnegation, so much Stephen WILKES does not hesitate to dedicate his time and his person to the photographic projects which mean a lot to him. They are photographic works able to change our perception of the World, to provoke reactions. So, in 1998, a one-day assignment to the south side of Ellis Island led to a 5-year photographic project. At the end of it: Ghosts of Freedom (published in 2006), a photo and video study about this abandoned place, a medical wards where immigrants were detained. They had to undergo tests and were quarantined there before they could enter America. Broadly spread, Stephen WILKES’ photos helped to move the lines. Thanks to that, $6 million were provided to restore the south side of the island.

In a different approach, the recent series Day to night started in 2009, gathers in a single photograph the images captured during an entire day. A long and difficult work sublimating landscapes and architectures, carefully chosen by Stephen WILKES. This tour de force requires a digital treatment of an average of 1400 photos, all taken during a shooting session of more than 24 hours.

Through his photos, Stephen WILKES question our relation with our environment

Stephen WILKES’ subjects involve human being very closely. It is consistently put in relation with its surroundings. The photographs can bind him to time (Ellis Island ; Day to night ; China old and new), to work, factories and manufactured articles (China factories ; Burned Objects ; Bethlehem Steel) or even to nature and environment (Remnants gulf disasters ; Nudes ; Katrina). We always find reference to human being, sometime in an underlying way.

His photographs are often awarded and now included in the collections of numerous museums.

Fairs and exhibitions:

Responds 9/11, Fairfield Museum, Connecticut, septembre 2011

Ellis Island, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvanie, juin 2010

Ellis Island, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvanie, juin 2010

Images, Fairfield Museum, avril 2009

Stephen Wilkes, Ellis Island, Chicago Cultural Arts, juillet 2008

Stephen Wilkes, Ellis Island, Grifffin Museum of Photography, janvier 2008

Museums: 

George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York

James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestonwn, Pennsylvanie

Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, Massachusetts

Jewish Museum of New York, New York, New York

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame, Indiana

The Historic New Orleans Collection, Nouvelle-Orléans, Louisiane 

Museum of the City of New York, New York, New York

9/11 Memorial Museum, New York, New York

Awards:

2015 : American Photography 31, Selected Winner

2014 : PDN Award of Excellence, Photojournalism, Vanity Fair

2014 : American Photography 30

2014 : Prix Pictet, Consumption, Honorable Mention

2013 : PDN Award of Excellence, Photojournalism, Sandy 

2013 : PDN Award of Excellence, Fine Art, Day to Night Shanghai 

2012 : Sony World Photography Professional Award

2012 : Adobe Breakthrough Photography Award

2011 : Photo District News (PDN) Award of Excellence

2007 : Prix De La Photographie Paris, Honorable Mention; Human Condition

2007 : Lucie Awards  1st. Place, Professional Photographer, Editorial, The Rise of Big Water

2007 : Lucie Awards  1st. Place, Fine Art, Ellis Island: Ghost of Freedom Lucie Awards

2004 : Epson Creativity Award

2004 : Lucie Award Fine Art Photographer of the Year

American Photography, Award of Excellence, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014

Photo District News Award of Excellence:  2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010

Communication Arts Award of Excellence 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010

Books selection: 

Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom, W. W. Norton & Company, 2006

California One: The Pacific Coast Highway, Friendly Press Inc, 1987

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