Michael A Shapiro, born in Oakland in 1954, was first known for his photographs of invaded cultures, both the Lakota and the Inuit. Trained in photography during the 1960‘s, he had to wait until a sustained remission from illness to begin this work in 2000. He grew up in Sioux City, IA, and attended David West’s photography classes at the Sioux City Art Center. Shapiro photographed family with a Kodak Brownie, and by age 14, was shooting local events and industrial work. Earning an advanced degree in writing and translation, he worked as a writer, editor, and instructor until 1999, then returned full time to photography. Between work on Inuit and Lakota projects, Shapiro embedded himself with a rodeo company and traveled, making photographs of cowboys and rodeo workers.
"For me, photography’s challenge is in meeting the demands of both subject and discipline. I’m attracted to juxtaposition, gesture, and shape; but some of my work is motivated by anger. How can anyone make photos of the homeless and foreclosed without getting angry? How can you shoot humans intruding upon, erecting, and abandoning, without at least wondering about their total lack of imagination?"
Shapiro’s immersive approach to photographing people and places has resulted in 4 books, including Paris, Inuit, Urban Geometry, and upcoming, Urban Journal, and recent series: Border Towns, Touch of Humanity, Time Off, and Caffetto’s Cafe.
Recent exhibitions include Phipps Center for the Arts (2014-15); Minneapolis Photo Center (2012); Independent Film Project, Minneapolis (2012); Minnetonka Center for the Arts (2011); Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis (2010); and Springfield (IL) Art Association (2010). His photographs have been featured in magazines and books, and his work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis).