Michael Christopher Brown was raised in the Skagit Valley, a farming community in Washington State. His recent work, Libya, was exhibited in March at the MIT Center for International Studies and will be in the group exhibition War/Photography: Image of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath, opening later this year at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Over a six-month period in 2011, Brown documented the face of battle in Libya using a camera phone, challenging the standard script for war reportage. Brown forms a series that moves beyond documentary realism and across the distinction between art and journalism, exploring ethical distance and the iconography of warfare.
His previous work, Xiasi (2010), or Reverie, a two-part series produced during train and road trips in China, presents solitary figures seemingly removed from the world’s most populous country. The images are as much a study of Chinese identity as a reflection of Brown’s nomadic experience. In Broadway (2009), he examines American identity through its’ archetypes, found along the famous New York thoroughfare and amidst a global financial crisis. Sakhalin (2008) depicts an enigmatic wintry atmosphere of the remote Russian island, long scarred from the Soviet era and left behind in modern times.
He recently exhibited work at the Instituto Cervantes, New York (2011) and the Steven Kasher Gallery, New York (2010). In 2012 he was a finalist for the Oskar Barnack Award and in 2011 he was a finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography as well as a finalist for the Emerging Photographer Award (Burn Magazine / Magnum Foundation) for the third year in a row. A graduate of the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University (M.A. 2003), his photographs have been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts, including PBS, NPR, Time, Newsweek, Geo, Foam, The New York Times and The Atlantic. Brown has worked as a contributing photographer at National Geographic Magazine since 2005.