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Who Is Michael Jang?

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“Who is Michael Jang? I don’t know if he’s a hipster or a nerd, a conceptual genius or instinctual savant. All I know is that he takes some of the best pictures I’ve ever seen.” –Alec Soth

San Francisco–based photographer Michael Jang spent nearly four decades working as a successful commercial portrait photographer. Unbeknownst to the world, however, he was simultaneously assembling a vast archive of thousands of remarkable images documenting, variously: college days, Hollywood celebrities, would-be weather presenters, San Francisco street scenes, his family, Bay Area punks and adolescent garage bands. Jang revealed nothing of his ever-expanding, eclectic archive for almost 40 years until 2001, when he submitted a number of images for consideration to San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art. Jang’s work attracted immediate acclaim, and for the past decade he has continued to unveil his considerable oeuvre in national and international exhibitions and monographs.


The photographer’s first major monograph, Who Is Michael Jang? highlights Jang's most important bodies of work. Introduced by his longtime collaborator and SFMOMA curator emerita of photography, Sandra Phillips, this volume offers readers a long-overdue introduction to Jang’s incredible images.

Michael Jang (born 1951) has practiced photography in San Francisco for more than 50 years. After decades of successful commercial portraiture, Jang began to revisit the vast archive of unseen, spontaneous images he has amassed, many of which betray the influence of celebrated street photographers such as Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand and Lisette Model.

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