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Mark Klett
Nationality: 
american
Gender: 
Male
Birth Date: 
1952
Birth Place: 
Albany, N.Y.
Photographer and Regents’ Professor of Art at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, Mark Klett is known for his exploration of the passage of time through his landscape photographs such as the Rephotographic Survey Project of 1977-1979, in which he and colleagues took photographs of the same views as were photographed by nineteenth-century photographers surveying the American West. Klett was born in 1952 in Albany, New York. He developed an interest in photography, particularly in printing photographs from negatives, while in school. He continued this interest at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, while studying geology and taking field trips with his geology professor in the summer. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Geology in 1974, Klett entered the State University of New York at Buffalo to pursue a master’s degree in photography at the University’s Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, N.Y. In summers he worked as a field geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. After graduating in 1977 he moved to Colorado at the invitation of Ellen Manchester (b. 1945) to teach photography with her at Colorado Mountain College. Together with photographer JoAnn Verburg (b. 1950) they conceived of the rephotography project, following such early photographers as Timothy O'Sullivan and Carleton Watkins, funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Polaroid Corporation. Working with additional colleagues, they were able to find the exact locations and angles of view used by the early photographers and over three summers took 121 rephotographs using large-format Polaroid cameras. Klett and Manchester had relocated in 1978 to the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities in Idaho, where Klett worked as the assistant director of photography for four years. His first solo exhibition was at Idaho State University’s gallery in 1979. He received an Emerging Artist Fellowship from the NEA in 1979 and in 1980 won the Ferguson Award from the Friends of Photography for rodeo photographs; the stipend from that award funded his hiking and photography trip to Nepal in 1981. After his return he was hired to start the Collaborative Photography Facility at ASU to support visiting artists and writers. This position allowed him to travel around the West taking landscape photographs. Klett received NEA fellowships in 1982 and 1984, and working with Manchester and Verburg, published “Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project” in 1984. He was one of four photographers hired by the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson to document the Central Arizona Project’s 307-mile-long canal in 1984. That year his work was shown in one-man exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Klett was the lead photographer in the team that created “Headlands: The Marin Coast at the Golden Gate” published in 1989. In 1990 he rephotographed Eadweard Muybridge’s (1830-1904) celebrated panorama of San Francisco, which Muybridge had taken in 1878 from the top of Mark Hopkins’ (1813-1878) palatial mansion. Klett’s photographs were taken from the balconies on the 16th floor of the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel (built on the site of the Hopkins mansion), and were published with Muybridge’s panorama as “One City/Two Visions: San Francisco Panoramas, 1989 and 1990.” A commission from Oklahoma City led to “Photographing Oklahoma, 1889-1991.” His book “Revealing Territory” (1992) contained 110 black-and-white landscape photographs and a color panorama. In 1993 he received the Friends of Photography’s “Photographer of the Year Award” and a Japan/US Creative Artist Fellowship from the Japan/US Friendship Commission. Klett was appointed an Associate Professor of Art at ASU in 1996, a full Professor in 1999 and a Regents’ Professor in 2001. In 2004 St. Lawrence University awarded him an honorary doctorate and the Guggenheim Foundation gave him a Fellowship. He continued to specialize in rephotography, with results published as “Third Views, Second Sights: A Rephotographic Survey of the American West” in 2004 and “After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire” (2005), which accompanied the exhibition of that title that opened at the Legion of Honor Museum in December 2005. Altogether Klett has written or co-authored sixteen books. His many solo exhibitions included shows at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. He received the Arizona Governor’s Artist Award in 2008 and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artists Award in 2015. As of this writing, Klett continues to teach at ASU and live in Tempe. (TNB 6/2019)Photographer and Regents’ Professor of Art at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, Mark Klett is known for his exploration of the passage of time through his landscape photographs such as the Rephotographic Survey Project of 1977-1979, in which he and colleagues took photographs of the same views as were photographed by nineteenth-century photographers surveying the American West. Klett was born in 1952 in Albany, New York. He developed an interest in photography, particularly in printing photographs from negatives wile in school. He continued this interest at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, while studying geology and taking field trips with his geology professor in the summer. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Geology in 1974, Klett entered the State University of New York at Buffalo to pursue a master’s degree in photography at the University’s Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, N.Y. In summers he worked as a field geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. After graduating in 1977 he moved to Colorado at the invitation of Ellen Manchester (b. 1945) to teach photography with her at Colorado Mountain College. Together with photographer JoAnn Verburg (b. 1950) they conceived of the rephotography project, following such early photographers as Timothy O'Sullivan and Carleton Watkins, funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Polaroid Corporation. Working with additional colleagues, they were able to find the exact locations and angles of view used by the early photographers and over three summers took 121 rephotographs using large-format Polaroid cameras. Klett and Manchester had relocated in 1978 to the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities in Idaho, where Klett worked as the assistant director of photography for four years. He received an Emerging Artist Fellowship from the NEA in 1979 and in 1980 won the Ferguson Award from the Friends of Photography for rodeo photographs; the stipend from that award funded his hiking and photography trip to Nepal in 1981. After his return he was hired to start the Collaborative Photography Facility at ASU to support visiting artists and writers. This position allowed him to travel around the West taking landscape photographs. Klett received NEA fellowships in 1982 and 1984, and working with Manchester and Verburg published “Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project” in 1984. He was one of four photographers hired by the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson to document the Central Arizona Project’s 307-mile-long canal in 1984. A commission from Oklahoma City led to “Photographing Oklahoma, 1889-1991.” Klett was the lead photographer in the team that created “Headlands: The Marin Coast at the Golden Gate” published in 1989. In 1990 he rephotographed Eadweard Muybridge’s (1830-1904) celebrated panorama of San Francisco, which Muybridge had taken in 1878 from the top of Mark Hopkins’ (1813-1878) palatial mansion. Klett’s photographs were taken from the balconies on the 16th floor of the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, and were published with Muybridge’s panorama as “One City/Two Visions: San Francisco Panoramas, 1989 and 1990.” His book “Revealing Territory” (1992) contained 110 black-and-white landscape photographs and a color panorama. In 1993 he received the Friends of Photography’s “Photographer of the Year Award” and a Japan/US Creative Artist Fellowship from the Japan/US Friendship Commission. Klett was appointed an Associate Professor of Art at ASU in 1996, a full Professor in 1999 and a Regents’ Professor in 2001. In 2004 St. Lawrence University awarded him an honorary doctorate and the Guggenheim Foundation gave him a Fellowship. He continued to specialize in rephotography, with results published as “Third Views, Second Sights: A Rephotographic Survey of the American West” in 2004 and “After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire” (2005), which accompanied the exhibition of that title that opened at the Legion of Honor Museum in December 2005. Altogether Klett has written or co-authored sixteen books. He received the Arizona Governor’s Artist Award in 2008 and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artists Award in 2015. As of this writing, Klett continues to teach at ASU and live in Tempe. (TNB 6/2019) Selected bibliography: Fox, William L. View Finder: Mark Klett, Photography, and the Reinvention of Landscape. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001.