Michael Ast, photographer Michael Ast, photographer

Michael Ast (b. 1973) resides in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, situated between Philadelphia and New York City. He has worked professionally as both a photojournalist and commercial photographer. Michael has been increasingly interested in photographic narrative, utilizing a mixture of self-expression and photo documentation. Viewers can easily see such approach in his published photobooks, zines and photographic series he’s been making. He borrows the reality before him to live an incessant curious life beneath the surface of things. He questions matter-of-factly, “That should be everyone’s mission as we waltz through this short time and place of ours. No?”

In his photographs, we see Michael applying a trained and thorough eye from his experience and education as a photojournalist. He graduated a Bachelor of Journalism from Boston University’s School of Communication. “I concentrated in photojournalism, embracing the reportage concepts of the photo essay,” he says, “which I was on deadline to formulate, shoot and print myself each week.” The conceptual framework of the photo essay is apparent in many of his photographic series.

An enormous fan of the printed image and book format, Michael has had 2 books published. “a musing from the rocking dock “, published in 2016 by The Unknown Books (Portugal), depicts an unabashed reverie through photographs of primal scenes, and those experiencing its latitudes in order to transcend entropic imbalance for boundless allusions. Michael’s first book “Trying to Find the Ocean ” was released in June, 2014. The self-published book, printed in an edition of 300 offset-printed copies, takes the viewer on a rampage-like journey through the city of Baltimore. Michael incorporates both an intense outward gaze on the environments and inhabitants he explores, and an inward gaze, employing images to function esoterically as emotive and cognitive intimations.

Michael’s photography has been exhibited internationally, published in numerous publications and used on album covers, most notably on songwriter/rocker Kurt Vile’s critically acclaimed album Smoke Rings for My Halo (Matador Records).

Since 2008 Michael has been experimenting with printmaking, expanding his photographic output through the intaglio etching process. The laborious, but meditative act of making etchings has drastically changed his approach to photographing the places and people in his surroundings. Like a broken record Michael emphasizes instinct, visceral seeing, and emotional cohesion to one’s gut.

Michael is presently formulating zines that will combine his black and white photos, color photography, and etching reproductions. In all his work, one can expect an experiential cohesion with his established instinct and visceral gaze.

Recent Exhibitions & Publications

Bucks County Designer House, salon / group show, Bucks County, PA
April 29 – May 29, 2018

Dúplex magazine, photography interview / feature, Spain
Novemver, 2017
Living Image, Exhibition Catalog, The Halide Project, 2017
Gravy Studio Living Image (Analog Photography Juried Exhibition), Philadelphia, PA
October 6 – October 29, 2017
These Windows Are Tinted To Help You Sleep, ZINE, September, 2017
A-Space, The Fall Show, New Hope, PA
September 10 – October 1, 2017
187 Rue Principale Photo Etchings (solo exhibition), Emmaus, PA
August 1 – August 30, 2017
Phosmag, KINSEY featured portfolio (hand-pulled prints & photographs)
July, 2017
Hicks Art Center Gallery 52 Annual Arts Exhibition, Newtown, PA
April 28 – May 9, 2017
La Imprenta 2017 Calendar, Featured Artist of 12 International Artists
Published by La Imprenta CG (Valencia, Spain), January, 2017

Lisbon Photobook Fair, Featured Artist / Book Signing, Lisbon, Portugal
November 26, 2017
a musing from the rocking dock, Photobook, published by The Unknown Books (Portugal)
September, 2016
Float Photo Magazine, Failure (group exhibition)
September, 2016
Big Tree Studios, Autumn Showcase, featured artist / photo etchings, Bucks County, PA
September 24 – November 22, 2016
Oranbeg Press, Double Life, Exhibition Book (release at NY Art Book Fair, edition of 100) & Online Exhibition
September, 2016
Savery Gallery, Group Photography Exhibition, Philadelphia
July 1 – July 29, 2016
Fotografia Europea, Photobook Exhibition: The via Emilia. Roads, Journeys, Borders
Chiostri di San Pietro, Reggio Emilia (Italy)
May 6 – July 10, 2016
Salon du Soleil, Grundy Commons, Bristol, PA
June 11, 2016
51st Annual Arts Exhibition, photo-based etchings, Hicks Art Center Gallery, Newtown, PA
April 28 – May 20, 2016
Art in the Pavilion, Printmaking Exhibition / Photo Etchings, Doylestown, PA
January 6 – April 5, 2016

Oranbeg Press, Interleaves, 2015
December, 2015
Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, 4th Annual Members Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA
August 13 – September 5, 2015
ECTOPLASM, Juried Exhibition by Ulrike Biets for Oranbeg Press
July, 2015
NHArts Exposure 1st Juried Photographic Exhibition, New Hope Arts Center
June 27 – July 19, 2015
Salon Du Soleil, The Grundy Commons, Bristol, PA
June 20, 2015
Aubade Magazine, Issue #10 (Front Cover)
June, 2015
Philly Photo Day Outdoor Exhibition, Dilworth Park, City Hall, Philadelphia
May – June, 2015
50th Annual Arts Exhibition, photo-based etchings, Hicks Art Center Gallery, Newtown, PA
April 30 – May 12, 2015
Art Works, 2nd Annual Juried Print Exhibition, Trenton, NJ
March 11 – April 25, 2015
Wavepool, Interview/Feature (online)
January 26, 2015

Philly Photo Day, group photography exhibition, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, PA
November 13 – December 28, 2014
Petty Thieves, Issue #5
September 2014
Bucks County Herald, interview/feature
September 11, 2014
Dda Factory, group photography exhibition, Cagliari, Italy
September 1 – September 20, 2014
Phoenix Art Museum, InFocus Juried Exhibition of Self-Published Photobooks, Phoenix, AZ
August 23 – September 28, 2014
3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 3rd Annual Members Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA
August 1 – August 17, 2014
LENSCRATCH: Trying to Find the Ocean, Feature
August, 2014
Trying to Find the Ocean, Photobook, self-published, edition of 300
June, 2014
49th Annual Arts Exhibition, photo-based Etchings, Hicks Art Center Gallery, Newtown, PA
May 1 – May 14, 2014
Oranbeg Press / Furthermore Gallery, i fear for my safety, group exhibition, Washington D.C.
March – April, 2014
Saint Lucy, “One Picture / One Paragraph”
February, 2014
Petty Thieves, Issue #4 “Coast to Coast”
January, 2014

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center & Mural Arts Program, Selected Photographer for Billboard, Phila. PA
December 1-31, 2013
Philly Photo Day, Group Exhibition, Philly Photo Day Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
November 14 – December 28, 2013
Petty Thieves Three, Projection Exhibition, Furthermore Gallery, Washington D.C.
November 8, 2013
Blak Dot, Interview
October, 29, 2013
Under Pressure, group printmaking exhibition, West Windsor Art Center, Princeton, NJ
Sept. 9 – November 15, 2013
Members Show, Crane Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA
Aug. 3 – Aug. 24th, 2013
CZE, Blurry Issue #13, Curated International Group Exhibition
July, 2013
Annual Juried Photography Exhibition, J.B. Kline & Son Gallery, Lambertville, NJ
Jun. 8 – Jun. 30, 2013
48th Annual Arts Exhibition, Honorable Mention (printmaking), Hicks Art Center Gallery, Newtown, PA
May 2 – May 14, 2013
LENSCRATCH, Backyard Exhibition (online Exhibition)
May, 2013
One Giant Arm, Issue #4: White & Black, England
Apr., 2013

No Thoughts, Issue #9
Nov., 2012
One Giant Arm, Interview/Feature (online), England
Sept. 22, 2012
PDN Online, Winner, Emerging Photographer
Aug., 2012
No Thoughts, Issue #8
July, 2012
Souvenirs, Traveling Exhibition, University of Girona, Spain
Jan. 4 – Mar. 1, 2012

Souvenirs, Traveling Exhibition, Institut d’Estudis, Lleida, Spain
May 5, – July 15, 2011
Souvenirs, Exhibition book/catalog, Institut d’Estudis, Lleida, Spain
May, 2011
46th Annual Arts Exhibition, Purchase (photo-based etching) for Permanent Collection
Hicks Art Center Gallery, Newtown, PA. Apr. 29 – May 15, 2011
Smoke Rings for My Halo (Kurt Vile), Album/CD Cover, Matador Records
Mar. 8, 2011 (release date)

Phillips Mill Photographic Exhibition, 18th Annual Juried Photographic Exhibition, New Hope, PA
June 5 – June 27, 2010

Best In Show, Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition, New Hope, PA, 2006

Broad Street Gallery, In Plain Sight (Solo Exhibition), Quakertown, PA, July, 2007
Open Space Gallery, Near Blighted, Juried Photography Exhibition, Allentown, PA, 2000
New York Times Getting Back to the Land in Summer Gallery Shows
Exhibition Review: Preserving the Garden at Printmaking Council of New Jersey, May 14, 2000
Printmaking Council of New Jersey, Preserving the Garden: Saving the New Jersey Landscape
Somerville, NJ, 2000
Fulton Street Gallery,Human Landscape, Juried Photography Exhibition, Troy, NY 2000
Mountain Art Show, 23rd Annual Juried Photography Exhibition, Bernardsville, NJ, 2000
Lockjaw Gallery, Urban Landscape, Juried Photography Exhibition (Awarded Honorable Mention)
Philadelphia, 1999
The Art Center, Solo Exhibition, Bucks County & Other Color Photographs, Frenchtown, NJ 1999
New Hope Arts Commission, The New Century Art Show (Awarded Best in Photography)
New Hope, PA 1998
Perkiomen Valley Art Center 43rd Annual Juried Exhibition, Pottstown, PA 1998
Allens Lane Art Center PhotoSession 97, Juried Photography Exhibition (Awarded Honorable Mention)
Philadelphia, PA 1997

Contact Michael for further information