With his 1950’s camera, Michael travels extensively to photograph the world’s finest boats and pristine seascapes. He collects his images on traditional black and white film and produces luminous silver gelatin prints in his darkroom. With a distinctive sense of composition and attention to tonal relationships, the emotional force exhibited in Michael’s photographs has allowed him to be one of the most memorable photographers of our time.
Born in 1960, Michael Kahn is a life-long resident of Chester County Pennsylvania. During his childhood, his family summered on the coasts of Maine and Topsail Island, North Carolina. This is where his love of the sea and sailing originated. After high school, Michael apprenticed in a portrait studio where they used Hasselblad cameras with a square 6×6 cm film format. Here, Michael received hands on training in film handling and black and white printmaking. Several years later, the owner of the studio changed the business model and became a commercial/advertising photographer. Michael stayed on as an assistant, learning skills in advertising, product and editorial photography. From there, Michael branched off on his own, shooting for magazines and other commercial clients. In 1990 he published a book of black and white photographs of the Brandywine River in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In the mid-90’s, Michael took his first sailing photograph of a small boat in the fog on a lake in the Adirondacks. This image launched his nautical photography career. Michael made the decision to stay with his film cameras instead of going with the new trends in digital equipment, and continues to make handmade photographs in his darkroom.
MASSONIART, Chestertown Maryland, LIGHT water + stone, Spring 2019.
Galleria Silecchia, Sarasota, Florida, Winter 2019.
Stanhope and Spencer, Rockland Maine, Summer 2018.
“Spirit of the Sea” Martin Gallery, Charleston SC, 2017.
“Spirit of the Sea” Sheldon Gallery of Fine Art, Newport RI, 2017.
“Set Sail” Preview of the 62nd Annual Arts Festival, Solo Exhibition, South Shore Arts Center, Cohassett, MA 2017.
“Summer 2017- Featuring the J Class Revival Photographs” Two-Person Exhibition, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD 2017.
“Balancing Act” Two-Person Exhibition, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD 2017.
“Photographs of the Sea” Solo Exhibition, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, CT 2016.
“Just This” Two-Person Exhibition, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD 2016.
“Over the Dunes,” book release, signing, gallery tour, North Water Gallery Martha’s Vineyard; Focus Gallery Chatham MA; Martin Gallery Charleston SC, 2015.
“Sailing,” Three-Person Exhibition, Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA, 2015.
“First Light,” Two-Person Exhibition, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD, 2014.
Gallery talk, Focus Gallery, Chatham, MA, 2014.
Gallery talk, North Water Gallery, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2014.
“Becalmed,” Two-Person Exhibition, Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC, 2014.
“Work Zone,” Group Exhibition, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD, 2013.
“Close to the Edge,” Group Exhibition, Hard Castle Gallery, Centreville, DE, 2013.
Centennial Juried Exhibition, Delaware Museum of Art, Wilmington, DE, 2012.
“For the Love of Boats,” Exhibition, Shaw Contemporary Jewelry, Northeast Harbor, ME, 2012.
“At Night: Images in the half light,” Exhibition, Holden Luntz Gallery, Palm Beach, FL, 2012.
Art for Embassies 2012 Program, two silver gelatin photographs to the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain.
“Darkroom Photography: A Glimpse into Tradition,” North Water Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2011.
Solo Exhibitions, True North Gallery, Kennebunkport, ME, 2011, 2012.
Group Exhibitions, Focus Gallery, Chatham, MA, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.
Art by Geneve, A-D Galerie, Switzerland, 2011.
Biennial Juried Show, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME, 2011.
Exhibition, Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC, 2010.
Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, FL, 2010.
Exhibition, Salty Dog Gallery, Southwest Harbor, ME, 2010.
Exhibition, Focus Gallery, Cohasset, MA, 2010.
“Maine’s Windjammers,” Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport, ME, 2010.
Exhibition, Landing Gallery, Rockland, ME, 2010.
Exhibition, Galerie Aalders, Saint Tropez, France, 2008.
Group Exhibitions, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD, 2005, 2006.
Solo Exhibition, San Diego Maritime Museum, San Diego, CA, 2005.
Art for Embassies 2004 Program: two silver gelatin photographs to the U.S. Embassy in Katmandu, Nepal.
“The Spirit of Sailing,” Kip Marina, Inverkip, Scotland, 2004.
“The Spirit of Sailing” Solo Exhibition, eight galleries across the U.S., 2004.
“The Spirit of Sailing” Exhibit, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD, 2003.
“Sun Sand Sea” Exhibit, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD, 2003.
“Golden Age of Sail,” Solo Exhibition, 8 galleries, 2002.
Group Show, Alinder Gallery, Gualala, CA, 2001.
Labor Day Solo Show, Gardner-Colby Gallery, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2001.
“Light, Wind and Water,” Solo Exhibition, Edward Carter Gallery, Lewes, DE, New York City, NY, 2001.
Mystic Maritime Gallery, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, CT, 1998.
Solo Exhibition, The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH, 1997.
“Wooden Ships of Maine,” Solo Exhibition, Harbor Square Gallery, Rockland, ME, 1997.
Gardner-Colby Gallery, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 1997.
“Chiaroscuro,” Two-Person Exhibition, Somerville Manning Gallery, Greenville, DE, 1994.
Photo Exhibit, Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA, 1990.
Watch Michael on location as he photographs the J Class Yachts in St. Barths and the Classics in Antigua.
Marine and Seascape Photography, WoodenBoat School Brooklin Maine, September 6-12 2020
The first day of course reservations will be Thursday, January 2, 2020. This class fills up fast so be sure to register then!
Michael’s process begins with a medium-format camera and black and white film. The film is processed, then projected through the enlarger on to pure fiber paper, which has a coating of gelatin and suspended light-sensitive silver grains. Specific areas are lightened; others darkened. His technique is an elaborate, predetermined combination of exposure sequence, exposure time, and varied enlarger settings. When the exposure sequence is complete, the print is run through a series of developing chemicals, washed for one hour, dipped into toning chemicals, washed again, and finally air-dried. Within an edition, no image can be exactly duplicated. This hands-on process makes each Michael Kahn photograph essentially an original.
Fine art pigment prints
The fine art pigment prints are the highest quality prints in the marketplace. Michael starts with a 2.25×2.25″ film negative, which is then scanned and the image is printed on an inkjet printer with permanent ink on 300 lb German watercolor paper.
Over the Dunes, Brilliant Press 2015
The Spirit of Sailing: A Celebration of Sea and Sail, Courage Books 2004.
Brandywine, The Jarad Company 1990.
HL Photo, New Arrivals
Chestertown Spy, Interview
The Eye of Photography, Interview
Conde Nast Traveller
Martha’s Vineyard Arts and Ideas
Shadow and Light
Ocean Magagzine, Australia, Lens Flare Feature, January 2015
Adirondack Life, August 2014
Cape Cod HOME, Early Summer 2014
Cruising World Magazine, March 2014
Cape Cod Life 2014 Annual Guide
Dialogs with Great Photographers, Holden Luntz Gallery
Beaufort Magazine, Finland
Shutterbug Magazine – website profile
Small Craft Advisor
Classic Boat, UK
Fotoform International, Germany
Segeln Magazine, Germany
Sailing Journal, Germany
The New York Times
Town and Country
Homes and Interiors, Scotland
Homes Plus, Scotland
Photo Technik International, Germany
Maritime Life and Traditions, USA/France
Marine Art Quarterly
Alpha Edition, Kiel
Felix Rosenstiel’s Widow and Son, Ltd., UK
Bruce McGaw Graphics
The Art Group, London
Graphique de France
Nouvelles, La Carterie, France
Helma 365, Czech Republic
Mystic Seaport Museum
Kunstverlag Weingarten, Germany
Palazzi Verlag, Germany
100 Artists of the Brandywine Valley, Catherine Quillman
Selected Corporate Collections, Clients
The American Board of Surgery
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
Liberty Property Trust
Dean Witter Reynolds
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Lukens Steel, Inc.