The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
The New School
About Ken Schles
Brooklyn, New York. 1960.
Ken Schles is a NYFA Fellow. He's published four monographs. A fifth monograph, Night Walk, and a reprint of his first book, Invisible City, are forthcoming from Steidl (Germany). A native New Yorker, he's a foreign correspondent for the FOAM museum blog (Amsterdam). His books are considered 'intellectual milestones in photography' (Süddeutsche Zeitung). Oculus, his most recent book, was on several "best" photobook lists. Melanie Light, in Le Journal de la Photographie writes, "Oculus is a unique book that will speak to Every Man at every level ...beautifully crafted ...deeply satisfying ...This fourth book marks Ken Schles as a true master of his art and culture maker of the highest caliber." Adam Bell, in selecting it as best photobook of 2011 for Photo-Eye said, "Oculus is an unusual and uniquely important book… Equal parts philosophical treatise and artist book, Oculus asks profound questions about how we find meaning in the world and how images give shape to memory and our lives." Schles' previous book, A New History of Photography: The World Outside and the Pictures In Our Heads, was a finalist for the 2009 Rencontres d'Arles Photographie Contemporary Book Award and cited in 10x10 American Photobooks, which cites 300 of the most significant American photobooks of the last twenty-five years. Vince Aletti in the New Yorker called his book Invisible City, 'hellishly brilliant.' Invisible City was also included in MoMA's More Than One Photography exhibition as the sole representative of the printed photographic book, listed in M+M Auer's survey of important photographic books and cited twice in 10x10 American Photobooks. Invisible City has influenced a generation of photographers and is a favorite of the photographer Robert Frank. His work is included in private and public collections including MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Museo D'Arte Contemporanea, LACMA and is held in more than 100 library and museum collections throughout the world.
Ken Schles studied photography at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art with William Gedney, Len Jenshel and Larry Fink, and studied additionally with the artists Reuben Kadish, Hans Haacke and Martha Rosler, graduating in 1982. He was also briefly a student of the legendary Lisette Model at the New School for Social Research. Prior to his graduation he began working for Gilles Peress.