Michael Light – Bio

Michael Light is a San Francisco-based photographer. His work considers how we represent and visualise the world around us, exploring the ways that past archives and contemporary image culture mediate our relationship to the environment.

Light is known for his internationally acclaimed archival works, including FULL MOON (1999), which was exhibited in its entirety at the Museum of Contemporary Art. For this series, Light gained unprecedented access to NASA's photo archive of the Apollo space missions of 1967-1972. Approaching these visual documents with an aesthetic sensibility, he painstakingly mined images taken by the astronauts to present us with the moon as we’ve never seen before. 100 SUNS (2003), Light’s second major archival series, explores the relationship between politics and landscape, revisiting military photographs of US nuclear detonations during the mid-20th century. In both cases, Light’s re-presentation of these incredible images asks us to redefine our ideas of visual perception, landscape and the sublime.

For the last fifteen years, Light has used his experience as a pilot to aerially photograph areas of American terrain. The resulting images have delved into temporal and spatial experiences, such as vertigo, geologic time, and the sublime, as well as considering the impact humans have on the land.

Light exhibits globally, and his work is held in numerous institutional collections including the Australian Centre for Moving Image, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Getty Research Institute, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, NY, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He has produced several publications, including FULL MOON and 100 SUNS, and most recently Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain in 2014.