Michael James O’Brien is a photographer, teacher, curator, poet and activist currently based in Atlanta, GA.
He has had solo exhibitions in New York, Paris, Beijing, Hong Kong, Antwerp, Istanbul, Liverpool and Savannah GA, in addition to having work in London’s National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.
His work has been featured in publications like Rolling Stone, Vogue UK, The New Yorker, GQ, Eyemazing, Black & White Photography UK, The Guardian, The Financial Times among many others.
He has been Editor-at-Large of Verbal Abuse, the poetry zine as well as Contributing Editor for Departures Magazine.
His book Girlfriend; Men, Women and Drag, with text by Holly Brubach, was published by Random House in English, French and Japanese in 2000. From 1900 to 2000 he did all the still photography for Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 7 as well as Cremaster 1,2,4 and 5 which was exhibited worldwide.
For over 20 years, O’Brien was a member of ACTUP as well as a volunteer for GMHC and Terrence Higgins Trust UK. He was a co-producer of the Love Ball in NYC & Paris, which over the years raised more than $3million for people living with HIV/AIDS. He was the Creative Director for DAA/Designers Against Aids in 2011-12 and produced the Live Positive Campaign for the Flemish HIV Awareness organization SENSOA in 2013.
O’Brien is currently the co-chair of the Advisory Council of Atlanta Celebrates Photography.
Since 2015, he is Associate Chair of Photography at SCAD Atlanta.