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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Michelle Sank

Dates:  1953, 3 December -
Born:  South Africa, Cape Town
Active:  England / Ireland / Germany / South Africa
Website:  www.michellesank.com
 
  
Contemporary portrait photographer resident in the UK. 
  
Artist statement: 
  
My photography has always encompassed issues around social and cultural diversity. For the last 5 years I have photographed young people in different social contexts across the UK and Ireland. The portraits have been produced through a mix of street photography and youth group collaborations. By photographing in varying physical and social environments, I hope to capture the nuances, norms and sense of identity that are particular to and a reflection of youth within different societies today.
 
As a continuation of this I have also photographed older women, exploring the ageing process as something beautiful in itself and where body awareness and sensuality can still be enjoyed alongside the inner reflections and wisdom that accompany this stage of life.
 
I work independently as well as undertaking gallery residencies and commissions the most recent being Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Ireland, and the 2nd Fotofestival in Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg, Germany.

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Portraits 
  
If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful. 
  
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Family history 
  
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Exhibitions on this website

Contemporary photographers
ThumbnailMichelle Sank: An Evolving Retrospective 
PhVTitle | Lightbox | Checklist 
Portrait studies that explore the essence of adolescence.
 
  

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Bye Bye Baby
 
These portraits deal with the way young boys and girls interpret their understanding of masculinity and femininity within the milieu of our society today. Having left the purity of their childhood worlds, they seem to take on the trappings attributed to the grown ups they mimic.
 
The way they interact with the world around them in a purely physical sense, as well as in a social and psychological one, has been of continuing interest to me. (Michelle Sank, September 2007)
 
Teenagers Belfast
 
These portraits are from a series called which was commissioned by Belfast Exposed Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2005.
 
The remit was to empower these teenagers with a sense of individuality and to locate them within environments that bear no reference to the political struggles or past emblems of this. I wanted to portray these young people as normal teenagers, positive symbols of a new and developing society although still showing signs of a specific culture in the dress, the buildings, the light, the landscapes. (Michelle Sank, September 2007)
 
Into the Arms of Babes
 
England has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe and this statistic continues to be a growing concern in our society today. In this project I am exploring the current phenomenon of teenage mothers, and in some cases, teenage parents.
 
Essentially these young carers feel like children themselves, and it is this vulnerability that I hope to convey in the images. I am also interested in showing the relationship and bonding that can, and does exist, between young parent and child. Finally I hope to reveal the dynamics that are apparent between the mother, her partner and the extended family. (Michelle Sank, September 2007)
 
Young Carers
 
These images are from a project about Young Carers, children under the age of 18 who are often the main carers for a sick parent or sibling. In addition to performing daily household tasks like washing, bathing, cooking and shopping, they also have to cope with the additional pressure of school. Because they are different, they are often exposed to bullying from schoolmates and as a result lack a sense of identity as an individual in their own right.
 
With these portraits, I wanted to empower these young people with a sense of their own identity and normality. I wanted to remove them from their home environment and place them with ‘light’ and outside spaces. By getting them to dress in something they chose and to be themselves, I think for that moment in time they felt special, grounded and free. (Michelle Sank, 2007)
 
Endgame
 
These portraits were undertaken at a rehabilitation centre for adolescent boys who have offended and/or been in prison. During the photographic process a dialogue was established which created a sense of trust on both sides. This enabled them to express their individuality, something that has been denied to them most of their lives and thereafter in prison. (Michelle Sank, September 2007)
 
Celestial Echoes
 
These portraits deal with the way young boys and girls interpret their understanding of masculinity and femininity within the milieu of our society today. Having left the purity of their childhood worlds, they seem to take on the trappings attributed to the grown ups they mimic.
 
The way they interact with the world around them in a purely physical sense, as well as in a social and psychological one, has been of continuing interest to me. (Michelle Sank, September 2007) Education
 
University of Plymouth, Part-time photography tutor
De Montfort University, Leicester, U.K, M.A Photography
University of Cape Town, South Africa, B.A Fine Art
 
Residencies
 
2007 Sirius Arts Centre, Cork, Ireland
2007 Mannheim Photographic Festival, Mannheim, Germany
2006 Open Eye Gallery Liverpool, UK
2005 Belfast Exposed Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
2004 Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Wales
 
Solo exhibitions
 
2007 Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool
2007 Kunsthalle, Mannheim, Germany
2006 Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City
2006 SSRobin Gallery, London
2005 Belfast Exposed Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
2005 Azcapotzalko Centro Museum, Mexico
2004 Kakenhallen Gallery, Mariehamn, Finland
2004 Photogallery Peri, Turku, Finland
2004 Houston Centre of Photography, Houston, Texas
2003 The Emerging Self, The Guildhall, Gloucester, England
2003 The Emerging Self, Lauderdale House, London, England
2003 "Adonis", Trace gallery, Dorset, England
2002 Phoenix Gallery, Exeter, Devon, England
2001 Image Gallery, Bedford, England
1999 Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter, Devon, England
 
Group exhibitions
 
2008 Discoveries Show, Fotofest, Houston, U.S.A
2007 Ronmandos Gallery, Amsterdam
2007 National Portrait Gallery, London
2007 Galerie les filles du calvaire, Brussels
2006 ART-Galerie, Siegen, Germany
2006 Hobart City Carnegie Gallery, Hobart, Australia
2006 Latrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell, Australia
2005 'Made in Britain', British Contemporary Photographers, Huis Marseilles, Amsterdam (Touring)
2005 Centre of Photography, Woodstock, New York
2005 Gallery 401, Philadelphia University of the Arts, U.S.A
2004 Benham Gallery, Seattle, U.S.A
2004 Hirschl Gallery, London (Trace Edition)
2004 Art, Age & Gender, The Corn Exchange, Newbury, England.
2004 Tom Blau Gallery, London
2004 Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate
2004 Monks Withycombe Gallery, Devon, UK
2004 Volkswagen Fotogallery, Fringe Club, Hong Kong
2004 Lee-Ka Sing Gallery, Toronto
2004 Northwest Centre for Photography, Seattle, U.S.A
2004 On the Wall, London, UK
2004 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, U.S.A
2004 Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, Australia
2003 Photoespana, Madrid, Spain (Runner Up)
2003 Northwest Centre for Photography, Seattle, U.S.A (Honorary Mention)
2003 Center for Contemporary Art, USA (Honorary Mention)
2003 The Gables Gallery, Norwich, England (Michelle Sank & Gina Glover)
2003 Art, Age & Gender, Usher Gallery, Lincoln, England
2002 John Kobal Portrait Competition, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
2002 The Castle Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (Month of Photography)
2002 Art, Age + Gender, Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham, London, UK
2002 Eyepoppers, Gloucester City Galleries, UK
2002 Lauderdale House, Highgate London (Winner Annual Photographic exhibition)
2002 A Wealth in Common, Bury Museum & Art Gallery, Bury, Manchester, England.
2002 Blood Will Out, Stroud House Gallery, Stroud, England
2002 The Stilwerk, Berlin, Germany. Fotobild Berlin
2002 "Two of Us", L.A. Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany
2001 John Kobal Portrait Competition, National Portrait Gallery, London
2001 "5", The Workstation, Sheffield, England
2001 Immediate 2, The Site Gallery, Sheffield, England
 
Awards
 
2007 Finalist for photographic portrait prize at The National Gallery, London
2004 European Award for Women Photographers: Shortlisted
2002, 2004 & 2006 Arts Council:South West Visual Arts Award
 
Collections
 
Alain Servais, Brussells
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Woodstock Centre for Photography, Woodstock  
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
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