Michael Halsband, American (1956 - )

Michael Halsband

Born and raised in New York City, Michael Halsband started photography as a hobby at age ten. At school, almost by chance, he was shown how to make a print from start to finish. Amazed by this process, he ran home and announced to his parents "I'm into photography". They said, "If you're into photography in a year, we will buy you a camera". For a year, Halsband happily printed old family snapshots in the darkroom and understood that true creation takes place there. For him, every step in photography serves getting into the darkroom. As a teen, Halsband attempted to gain admission to The School of Visual Arts with his drawings & paintings. The head of admissions was not impressed with Halsband's work and asked if he had anything else to show. The next day, Halsband came back with his photography and was immediately accepted into the school.

While attending SVA in 1978, Halsband began professionally photographing portraits for magazine stories and covers. By his third year at SVA, he made enough money to buy his own studio. Some of the people he photographed at that time were: Andy Warhol, Bernice Abbott, David Byrne, Walter Stedding, Glenn Branca, Alan Vega, Bob Guccione, Klaus Nomi and Lydia Lunch and Eight Eyed Spy. Klaus Nomi's portrait was made in February of 1980, and was part of Halsband's senior thesis. Klaus showed up with the space-like outfit that had just been made by a costume designer. Nomi wanted Halsband to be the first to photograph him in that outfit because he loved Halsband's relentless attention to detail. After graduating from SVA in the spring of 1980, he and continued to work for magazines like Interview, Avenue and Rolling Stone, making portraits including Jim Carroll and Peter Tosh.

In summer of 1981, after several weeks on the road photographing James Brown, Halsband got an assignment to photograph Keith Richards for the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and consequently was asked by Mick Jagger to be The Rolling Stones tour photographer. Upon returning to New York City, he continued pursuing a career in fashion; something he had already been working toward during his time at SVA. He began working for Condé Nast which featured his work in GQ, Self, Vogue, House and Gardens, Glamour and Mademoiselle. In 1985, Halsband created his most iconic photograph, which became the poster of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat with boxing gloves for their collaborative exhibition. Halsband spent the next seven years photographing fashion and portraits for various magazines; making album covers for Iggy Pop, The Psychedelic Furs, INXS, Deee-Lite; worked on international ad campaigns for Gap and J.Crew, and created press kits for many designers including Calvin Klein and Adrian Vittadini. Throughout the entire experience, Halsband remained humble. He says;

"My heroes [are] sociologists and archaeologists; people who study our cultures – [they] all inspired me to flatten the whole thing and take the glamour out of it…It's about more than just famous people, since every photo sitting has to be on level ground, with no one having the upper hand. When I'm photographing, it is about letting what is: be…"

In 1986 Halsband began working on what would become a six-year project, underwritten by Danskin, photographing the School of American Ballet. Ballet was not something that initially interested Halsband, but he thought it was very intimate and high-action. It had to be the perfect movement in its perfect moment, in the perfect light; those were Halsband and SAB's standards. In 1991, he transitioned away from the SAB project into another five-year personal project on nudes and portraits of strippers and sex industry workers. He found there was a lot of repression within nude photography and wanted to be honest in his work. Over time, the sitters would come with their own clothing, slowly peeling them off, and revealing their own fantasies. It became self-portraiture on both sides of the camera.

In 1994, Halsband was hired directly by Al Pacino to document the making of his film, "Looking for Richard". That same year he began working with The Rolling Stones once again on their "Voodoo Lounge" tour. Additionally, after years of letter writing to the band's manager, Halsband was hired to photograph the promotions and advertising for one of his favorite bands: AC/DC. Consequently, he covered their entire Ball Breaker Tour from 1995-1996. In 1999, Halsband traveled to Cuba with Hunter S. Thompson and Johnny Depp for Rolling Stone magazine to document the trip. As a result, Halsband was written into Thompson's book, "Kingdom of Fear". In 2000, Halsband got the opportunity to work with AC/DC for a second time on their world tour: Stiff Upper Lip, while continuing to photograph album covers and direct music videos. In 2002, Halsband became a Hasselblad Master and became the recipient of the Telly Award for a TV commercial he directed entitled "Family Shot" for Neil Diamond's new record.

In summer of 2005, Halsband released a book entitled Surf Book. He began working on this project with surf legend Joel Tudor in 1999. The goal was to document the most technologically and spiritually influential people in surf culture. In addition to capturing still images of surf culture, Halsband began working on a surf film. The film, entitled "Surf Movie: Reels 1-14" released in 2003, was immediately embraced by the art world. The film has been shown in galleries and museums since its release. Additionally, a new surf film shot between 2002-2004 is currently in post-production. Since 2006, Halsband has been making portraits of artists, musicians, surfers and friends in his studio with an 8x10 Camera. Inspired by his daily yoga practice, and eastern philosophy he wanted to see the result from stripping away all pretense, and posturing on both sides of the camera, in attempt to achieve a pure portrait. The courage to do allow what is to be is the intention. Personally processing and printing his work is part of the tradition. "I think it's happened over time… one thing I've done with photography is combined it with all other interests I have had in my life to experience or explore them to a greater depth and I think now, it's just come down to photography"

In Spring 2011 a series of Halsband's Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat portraits were included in an exhibit at the Warhol Museum, followed by an exhibition at the Arken Museum in Denmark, featuring a twelve foot reproduction of the Portrait of the two artists with arms crossed wearing boxing gloves. Quiksilver Womens commisioned him to shoot and direct a series of short films with four time world champion Surfer, Stephanie Gilmore titled "The Water Dancer". He paired Stephanie with three Dancers from various disciplines, with the intention to explore the connections between surf and dance. At the same time he began shooting and directing a short documentary film about the Peconic Land Trust, and the programs they have created for young aspiring farmers, to be shown in the summer 2012. Halsband has been always open to alternative exhibition ideas and spaces. In the summer he and graphic designer, Timothy Hsu collaborated on a show of current portraits in a unique environment, Mandarin's Tea Room in Soho, NY combining another practice that supports Halsbands work, Tea.

"Tea will put you in the right frame of mind... open up feelings, allow for the viewer to be receptive to something. Our eyes can be deceptive. I tend to want to believe in the heart to heart moment. It is a connection you have with that person, one to one and no two are alike". This show will continue through 2012.

Currently, Halsband is working on a book of his photographs from The Rolling Stones' 1981 "Tattoo You" North American tour, focusing his energy on new commissions, continuing to work on his portraits with no end in site.

Photographer/ Film Director

1981-1982 Tour Photographer for The Rolling Stones “Tattoo You” North American Tour
1982-1990 Fashion Photographer (Editorial & Ad campaigns including; The Gap, J. Crew, Adrienne Vittadini, Alexander Julian, Paul Stuart, Barney's, Pepsi)
1986-1991 Documented the School of American Ballet (underwritten by Danskin, USA produced six printed photo essays , one per year)
1991-1996 Pin-up Photograph & Portraits of Strippers & Sex Industry workers.
1994-1996 Photographed the Making of "Looking for Richard" a documentary film by Al Pacino
1995-1996 AC/DC “Ballbreaker” World Tour
1999 Traveled w/Hunter S. Thompson & Johnny Depp to Havana, Cuba for Rolling Stone Magazine
2000-2001 AC/DC “Stiff Upper Lip” World Tour
1999-2004 SURF BOOK: A Portrait of Surfing legend Joel Tudor through his Influences. A collaborative project documenting the most influential people in surfing. Book released Summer 2005
2005 SURF MOVIE:reels 1-14
2006 – 2010 Currently making portraits of Artists, Musicians and Surfers, and working on a new Surf Film for a Spring 2011 release, and book of his photographs while traveling with The Rolling Stones as tour photographer for their 1981 North American “Tattoo You” Tour.
Currently Living & Working in New York City.
2008 - Present School of Visual Arts Adjunct Faculty Member / Alumni Society, Board member

Gallery & Museum Exhibitions
1980 S.V.A. Gallery, New York City
Tower Gallery, Southampton, NY
1982 Govinda Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Chinese Chance Fourth Anniversary Exhibition
1983 Alex Rosenberg Gallery, New York City
Floating Foundation of Photography, New York City
"Heros, Heroines & Fans"
1984 Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, NY
Gifu Parco, Gifu City, Japan, Shinsaibashi Parco Osaka Japan
Asahikawa Seibu Asahikawa Hokkaido Japan
Kichijoji Parco Tokyo Japan, Sapporo Parco Oita Kyushu Japan
1985 Alex Rosenberg Gallery, New York
Hofstra Museum, Hempstead, NY
1987 International Center of Photography, New York City
"Art News Show"
1992 Marcelle Fine Art, Inc., NYC Michael Halsband "Photographs 1980-91"
1995 Gallery of Contemporary Photography,
Bergamot Station Arts Center Santa Monica, CA
1996 F-stop Restaurant, New York City
1998 “Pictures of Texas Monthly: Twenty-five Years” Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
1998 Hasselblad 50th Anniversary “Beyond Words”, Cologne, Germany
1999 Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, Havana, Cuba
2000 Biennial of Havana, Museum of Rum, Havana, Cuba
2001 SURFS UP! Art Show, Glenn Horowitz Booksellers Galllery, East Hampton, NY
2002 VH-1 Gallery “Michael Halsband: rock stars”
Modern Culture Gallery, Michael Halsband: Heart & Soul
Foam Gallery, Los Angeles “Michael Halsband photographs: surfing
2004 George Greenough Retrospective, Huntington Beach Surf Museum
George Greenough Retrospective, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Surf Culture New York, Milk Gallery, New York
“Here It Is/This Is It” Glenn Horowitz Booksellers Gallery
North Fork/South Fork Parrish Art Museum, Southampton,NY
2005 Salomon Contemporary Fine Art East Hampton, NY SURF MOVIE & PORTRAITS
Gallerie Biscarol Biarritz, France
Surf Art Gallery Laguna Beach, CA
2007 Salomon Contemporary Fine Art East Hampton, NY PORTRAITS
2008 Fundacion Marcelino Botín Santander, Spain “To Repel Ghosts”
Jean-Michel Basquait / Michael Halsband
Fondazione Memmo, Palazzo Ruspoli Rome, Italy “To Repel Ghosts”:Jean-Michel Basquait / Michael Halsband
2009 Salomon Contemporary Fine Art East Hampton, NY RECENT WORK 8x10 Portraits
2010 Eric Firestone Gallery Tucson, AZ Warhol: Dylan to Duchamp
Eric Firestone Gallery Easthampton N.Y. Warhol: Dylan to Duchamp
Nyehaus Gallery New York, NY SWELL show
Prism Gallery, L.A. CA. Andy Warhol Black & White
Eric Firestone Gallery Easthampton, NY Down By Law Group Show
“Plank Road” Salomon Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, NY 2010
“Nixon Art Mosh” NY 2010
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA: Mixed Signals: Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports May – August 2011
Local 87, East Hampton, NY July-December 2011
ARKEN Museum of Modern Art “Warhol & Basquiat” September 2011 – January 2012
Muse/ Center of Photography and the Moving Image, New York, NY October 2011
Lost Weekend NYC – “Michael Halsband: SURF” December 2011
The Mandarin’s Tea Room New York, NY 8x10 Portraits January 2012
Known Gallery Los Angeles, CA March 2012
Gagosian Gallery Davies Street, London June 19 – August 11, 2012
Lost Weekend Orchard Street, NYC MICHAEL
HALSBAND: 8x10 September 5 -

Museum Collections
Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Miami Museum of Contemporary Art
The Farnsworth Art Museum Rockland, Maine
Parrish Art Museum Southampton, NY

1993 Certificate of Design Excellence – Epic Records CD Booklet Insert; Shabba Ranks Xtra Naked
1994 Art Direction Magazine Creativity Award - Record Package Design - Meat Puppets: Too High to Die
2002 Hasselblad Master
2002 Telly Award - Neil Diamond “Family Shot” – Director
2005 International Photography Awards – Professional Photographer of the Year - Surf Book
2005 Festival International du Film de surf – Best Picture - Surf Movie: Reels 1-14
2012 Hamptons Internatonial Film Festival - Golden Starfish Award Winner :Audience Award Best Short for "GROWING FARMERS"

Show Reviews
Artspeak "The Famous by the Famous" 12/4/1980
The Sun "Modern Trio at The Tower" pg. 14 7/9/1981
Newsday "High Respect for the Craftsmanship"pg.38 7/16/1981
The Georgetowner "Who's Playing Where" 4/16/1982
The Washington Post "The Many Faces of Halsband" pg. C3 5/1/1982
Daily News "The 'Uglies'" pg.3 11/4/1983
New York Times "Notes on Fashion" pg. B7 11/8/1983
Photo District News "Michael Halsband's Celebs, Musicians, Strippers & More" pg.72D 6/1992
East Hampton Star “Rescued From “Twixt the Cracks” Robert Long pg C1

Articles & Interviews
PHOTO (Paris) "Dans Les Coulisses Des Rolling Stones" pgs. 36-43 2/1984
INTERVIEW Magazine "Modern Masters" Michael Halsband on Tour w/ The Rolling Stones
Photo District New "Out On A Limb With Michael Halsband" pgs.76- 80 12/1986
LIFE Magazine "Looking Good" 6/1986
PHOTO/DESIGN “Future Tense” pgs. 36—41 July/August 1992
Popular Photography "Try Cross Processing" pgs. 48-49 4/1995
Studio Photography & Design “The Human Aspect” pgs.28-32 July 1999
MICHAEL HALSBAND A Photographer’s Odyssey by Rusty Drumm East Hampton Star July 29, 2004
TOKION The Legends Issue March 2007
WhiteHot Magazine.com February 2010
FREE & EASY Magazine June 2010
REVEL IN NEW YORK, Volume Two 2011
FREUNDE VON FREUNDEN freundevonfreunden.com Video, Photographs & text interview December 2011
PARADIGM MAGAZINE paradigmmagazine.com January 2012

Impresario: Malcolm McLaren & The British New Wave (M.I.T. Press)
Andy Warhol: A Retrospective (Museum of Modern Art)
Splash: A History of Swimwear (Rizzoli)
The Phish Book (Villard)
BASQUIAT. Jean-Michel Galerie Enrico Navarra
JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT Tony Shafrazi Gallery
Jean-Michel Basquiat (Whitney/Abrams)
Underworld by: Kelly Klein (Knoph)
King For A Day: Jean-Michel Basquiat
The White T: (Umbra Editions)
Michael Halsband 1997 Calender (te Neues)
25 Years of Texas Monthly (Stewart, Tabori,Chang)
Rock Style by Tommy Hilfiger (Universe)
Basquiat (Taschen) 2003
According to The Rolling Stones, (Weidenfield & Nicolson, The Orion Publishing Group)
COMBINE (Super X Media)
SURF BOOK, photographs by Michael Halsband, text by Joel Tudor (Michael Halsband Studio)
“To Repel Ghosts” Jean-Michel Basquait / Michael Halsband (Fundacion Marcelino Botín &
Fondazione Memmo, Palazzo Ruspoli)
Warhol: Dylan to Duchamp Eric Firestone Gallery Tucson, AZ
Indochine (Rizzoli) 2010
Pearl Jam “Twenty” book Simon & Schuster, 2011

Architectural Digest, Art News, Avenue, Details, Detour (monthly page 1995-98), Esquire, Flaunt, G.Q., House & Gardens, Interview,
Life, Mademoiselle, Max, Musician, New York, New York Times Magazine, Ray Gun, Rolling Stone, Self, Seventeen, Spin, Time,
Vanity Fair, Vogue; (American, British, German, & Italian)

Films, Music Videos & Commercials
Li’l Bow Wow “Bounce with Me” T.V. Commercials Director/Cinematographer
Vodaphone “Michael Richards” T.V. Commercials Director
Taj Mahal/Michael Richards "Mr. Pitiful" Director
Coolbone "Nothing but Strife" Director / 2nd Camera
Nuno Bettencourt "Crave" Director
Kenny Lattimore "Never Too Busy" Director
Brooklyn Funk Essentials "The Creator has a Master Plan" Director / 2nd Camera
Love Spit Love "Change in the Weather" Director / 2nd Camera
Sha'Key "Soulsville" Director / 2nd Camera
Frank Black "Headache" Director/Cinematographer
Murphy's Law "Live at the Grand, St. Patricks Day" Director/Cinematographer
Malcolm McLaren " Waltz Darling" & "Deep in Vogue" Director / 2nd Camera
Pepe Jeans "Eye" & "Flower" Director/Cinematographer
James Taylor “October Road guitar store” T.V. commercial Director/Cinematographer
SURF MOVIE: reels 1-14 A film by Michael Halsband, music by Richard Fortus Director/Cinematographer
The Water Dancer: Stephanie Gilmore 2012 Director/Cinematographer
Peconic Land Trust “Young Farmers” 2012 Director/Co-Producer/Cinematographer
2011 Quiksilver Womens Tv Water Dancer: Quiksilver Ambassadorr Stephanie Gilmore
w/ Tiler Peck, Casandra “Defy” Rivera, Noemie Lafrance
2012 Young & Married Zeke & Stella spots for MTv
2013 Cinematographers in Focus Series for Tribeca Film Festival

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