Michael Kenna (British, b.1953) is a photographer who was born in Widnes, England, and is best known for his photographs of black-and-white landscapes. In his early years of education, he attended the Banbury School of Art, where he took up studies in painting and photography. He later became a student at the London College of Printing, where he began working as an artist and a photographer. Kenna is one of five children born to Irish-Catholic parents. Before discovering his passion for art, he aspired to enter the priesthood because of his Irish-Catholic background. Kenna moved to San Francisco in 1977.

The photographer took his first trip to Japan in 1987, and he was deeply impressed by the terrain of the country. Over the years, Kenna has visited and photographed almost every part of Japan. These visits spawned the book Japan, which featured more than 95 photographs of the country. This book is one of 18 published works by Kenna. Some of his other photography collections includeMont-Saint-Michel, Montecito Garden, Hokkaido, The Rouge, and The Hound of the Baskervilles. Kenna often takes photographs at dawn or close to dusk. He has been quoted as saying: "You can't always see what's otherwise noticeable during the day... with long exposures, you can photograph what the human eye is incapable of seeing."

Kenna’s work has been displayed all over the world, with permanent exhibitions in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and the Biblioteque in Paris. Kenna has also done a significant amount of commercial work for companies such as Audi, Rolls Royce, Volvo, Sprint, the Spanish Tourist Board, and Dom Perignon. He has received numerous awards for his artwork. Some of these awards include an honorary Master of Arts in 2003, the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2000, the Institute for Aesthetic Development Award in1989, and the Imogen Cunningham Award in 1981. Kenna lives and works in Seattle, WA.

Timeline

1953
Born: Widnes, Lancashire, England
1965–1972
Upholland College, Lancashire, England
1972–1973
H.N.D. Photography, Distinction, Banbury School of Art, Oxfordshire, England
1973–1976
London College of Printing, London, England
1981
Imogen Cunningham Award, San Francisco, CA
Zellerbach Award, San Francisco, CA
1987
Art in Public Buildings Award, California Arts Commission, Sacramento, CA
1989
The Institute for Aesthetic Development Award, Pasadena, CA

Exhibitions

2010
Venezia, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Landscape and Memories, Miyanomori Art Museum, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan (solo)
Michael Kenna - Retrospective, Palazzo Magnani Museum, Reggio Emilia, Italy (solo)
G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Versailles Photographie, 1850-2009, Chateau de Versailles, France
2009
Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, Portland, OR (solo)
New York + New Works, Galerie Camera Obscura, Paris, France (solo)
Recent Works, Box Gallery, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
Michael Kenna-Saturo Hoshino, Staniar Gallery, Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA (solo)
Zeit Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Centro Andaluz de al Fotografia, Almeria, Spain (solo)
Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, Portland, OR (solo)
Michael Kenna - Retrospective. Kushiro Art Museum, Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan (solo)
Box Gallery, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
Michael Kenna - Retrospective. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France (solo)
Camera Obscura Gallery, Paris, France (solo)
Right Through the Very Heart of It, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY
2008
Monique’s Kindergarten, MiCamera Gallery, Milan, Italy (solo)
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Water, l’Arsenal, Metz, France (solo)
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
The Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing, Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA (solo)
Galerie 127, Marakesh, Morocco (solo)
Nordic Light Festival, Kristiansund, Norway (solo)
Whitewall Gallery, Seoul, South Korea (solo)
Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CA (solo)
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
2003–2008
Japan, Museum of Glass, International Center for Contemporary Art, Tacoma, WA; Chateau d'Eau Museum, Toulouse, France; Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CA; Sardoni Gallery, Wilkes-Barre, PA; Galerie Troncin-Denis, Nancy, France; Caree Amelot, LaRochelle, France; LeBon Marché, Paris, France; New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England (solo)
2007
The Rogue, University of Michigan Muscum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI (solo)
G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA (solo)
Fotoart Festival, Bielsko-Biala, Poland (solo)
Spiritual Places, Galerie Camera Obscura, Paris, France (solo)
Frozen Landscapes, Bernheimer Gallery, Munich, Germany (solo)
Mont St. Michel, Charles A. Hardman Fine Art, Portland, OR (solo)
New York, New Work, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2006–2007
Thirty Year Retrospective, Prague House of Photography, Prague, Czech Republic; Banbury Muscum, Oxfordshire, England; Brno, Czech Republic; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Bratislava, Slovakia; Moscow, Russia; St. Petersburg, Russia (solo)
2003–2007
Impossible to Forget, Houston Holocaust Museum, Houston, TX; Lore Degenstein Gallery, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA; de Saisset Art Museum Santa Clara, CA; Michener Museum of Art, Doylestown, PA; Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH; Barrick Museum of Natural History, University of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV; Hansen Memorial Museum, KS; Cannon Art Gallery, Carlsbad, CA (solo)
2006
Zeit Foto Salon, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2005
Michael Kenna: 30 Year Retrospective, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Whitewall Gallery, Seoul, South Korea (solo)
Michael Kenna, Salle Capitulaire, Bordeaux, France (solo)
Hacklebury Fine Art, London, England (solo)
Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA (solo)
Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Retrospective Two, Scavi Scaglieri, Verona, Italy (solo)
Camera Obscura Gallery, Paris, France (solo)
G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
The Ralls Collection, Washington, D.C. (solo)
2004
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, MI (solo)
Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA (solo)
Monique’s Kindergarten, Point Light Gallery, Sydney, Australia (solo)
Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CA (solo)
Ratcliffe Power Station / Japan, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Picture Photo Space, Osaka, Japan
2003
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Michael Kenna Retrospective, Tokyo Photographic Cultural Center, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Whitewall Gallery, Seoul, Korea (solo)
Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, Dallas, TX (solo)
John Cleary Gallery, Houston, TX (solo)
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
Il Tempo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, MI (solo)
Ralls Collection, Washington D.C. (solo)
Terrance Denley Gallery, Birmingham, AL (solo)
G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Michael Kenna: Recent Work, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Lace Factories, Musee des Beaux Arts, Calais, France (solo)
Point Light Gallery, New South Wales, Australia (solo)
G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
Zelda Cheatle Gallery, London, England (solo)
Il Tempo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
SK Josefsberg Gallery, Portland, OR (solo)
Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA (solo)
Easter Island, Center for Photographic Arts, Carmel, CA; Cornell Museum, Delray Beach, FL (solo)
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
2001
Concentration Camps, Patrimoine Photographique, Hotel de Sully, Paris, France (solo)
Herchritt Gallery, Paris, France (solo)
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
John Cleary Gallery, Houston, TX (solo)
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
2000
Night Work, Friends of Photography, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Il Tempo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Recent Works, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Zur Stockeregg Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, MI (solo)
Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA (solo)
Point Light Gallery, Haymarket, New South Wales, Australia (solo)
Craig Krull Gallery Santa Monica, CA (solo)
Monique's Kindergarten, FNAC, Lyon, France (solo)
G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
Friends of Photography, San Francisco, CA (solo)
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
1999
Aspen Museum of Art, Aspen, CO (solo)
Le Notre's Gardens, Musee Jean de la Fontaine, France (solo)
Zelda Cheatle Gallery, London, England (solo)
The Ralls Collection, Washington D.C. (solo)
Monique's Kindergarten, FNAC, Etoile Gallery, Metz, France; FNAC, Marseilles, France (solo)
Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA (solo)
Il Tempo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
John Cleary Gallery, Houston, TX (solo)
Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA (solo)
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, MI (solo)
New Work, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1998
New Still Lifes and New Landscape, G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
Verso Photo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Il Tempo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Le Notre's Gardens and other European and American Landscapes, Candace Perich Gallery, Katonah, NY (solo)
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
Monique's Kindergarten, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY; The Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA (solo)
New Work, John Cleary Gallery, Houston, TX (solo)
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Longview Art Museum, Longview, TX (solo)
Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (solo)
University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, KY (solo)
Gallerie l'imagerie, Lannion, Brittany, France (solo)
Braga Photography Festival, Braga, Portugal (solo)
Le Notre's Gardens, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA; University of Oklahoma Art Museum, Norman, OK; Andrew Smith Gallery, Inc., Santa Fe, NM (solo)
A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans, LA (solo)
The Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, MI (solo)
Robert Klein Gallery Boston, MA
1997
G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Prague House of Photography Prague, Czech Republic (solo)
Robert Klein Gallery Boston, MA (solo)
1996
Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, MI (solo)
Zelda Cheatle Gallery London, England (solo)
Craig Krull Gallery Santa Monica, CA (solo)
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
John Cleary Gallery, Houston, TX (solo)
Gallery JM, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Afterimage Photography Gallery, Dallas, TX (solo)
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
1995
Il Tempo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA (solo)
Twenty Year Retrospective, Nicephore Niepce Museum, Chalon-sur-Saone, France (solo)
Spectrum Gallery, Rochester, NY (solo)
Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1994
Le Desert de Retz, The Graham Foundation, Chicago, IL (solo)
Zur Stockeregg Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
Picture Photo Space, Osaka, Japan (solo)
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Bethel College, St. Paul, MN (solo)

Literature

1994
Bunnell, Peter C. Introduction. Michael Kenna: A Twenty Year Retrospective. Preface by Ruth Bernhard. Japan: Treville, 1994.
1990
Iizawa, Kohtaro. Introduction. Michael Kenna. Preface by Mayumi Shinohara. Tokyo: Min Gallery, 1990.
1987
Johnstone, Mark. Introduction. Michael Kenna 1977-1987. Preface by Robert Lassam. Tokyo: Min Gallery, 1987.
1984
Chevrier, Jean-Francois. Introduction. Michael Kenna Photographs. San Francisco: Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 1984.