Author! Author! A Conversation with Michael Childers

presented in partnership with the Beinecke Library

Celebrated photo portraitist Michael Childers will share anecdotes about his work and interactions with notable writers. Childers makes all of his subjects look fabulous, especially his literary friends, who make up a focused show, Author! Author!, on view this summer at the Beinecke Library, along with the exhibition, Life of the Party: Jerome Zerbe and the Social Photograph. Among the writers on view in the Childers show are Amy Tan, Henry Rollins, Christopher Isherwood, Carrie Fisher, Gloria Steinem, Gore Vidal, Katori Hall, Mae West, and Fran Lebowitz.

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Michael Childers

Born in North Carolina, Michael Childers attended UCLA Film School where he directed student films and began his photography career studying with Robert Heineken and Edmund Teske. Michael created the mixed media work for the record-breaking run of the off-Broadway musical Oh! Calcutta! for Kenneth Tynan, leading to an invitation for photographic work at Sir Laurence Olivier’s National Theater in London.  He remains the only American photographer invited to do so. He was a founding photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview and After Dark magazines; and produced Dance magazine covers featuring the Joffrey Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and Alvin Ailey Dance Company, and co-authored Bejart: The World of Dance.

From his LA studios, Michael photographed 200+ magazine covers including GQ, New York, TV Guide, Esquire, Los Angeles, Elle, Paris Match, Life, London Sunday Times Magazine, and English and Italian Vogue. He created 150+ album covers and film posters for major studios and worked as a photographer on many films, including Grease, Marathon Man, The Year of Living Dangerously, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Pennies from Heaven, The Terminator, Hammett, Torch Song Trilogy, Endless Love, The Champ, and Oceans 12. He served as producer or associate producer on Marathon Man, Falcon and the Snowman, and The Believers, and as production assistant on The Day of The Locust and Midnight Cowboy.

In 2003, the Palm Springs Desert Museum presented a forty-year retrospective of Michael’s work, Icons and Legends, visited by 55,000+.  In 2004, Michael received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Hollywood Photography at the Temecula Film Festival and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Hollywood Photography from the Provincetown Film Festival. In 2006, La Dolce Vita: The Photography of Michael Childers, was exhibited at the Los Angeles Film Festival; the Palm Springs Art Museum (née Desert) presented Celebration of Three Hollywood Photographers: George Hurrell, Sid Avery, and Michael Childers; and the Tom of Finland Foundation inducted Michael into their Hall of Fame for his erotic photography.  In 2007, Rockin’ Hollywood at the Queen Mary Gallery, Long Beach featured portraits of rock-and-roll icons and music legends, viewed by 30,000+. Author Author, featuring celebrated authors, playwrights, poets and screenwriters, debuted at the Rancho Mirage Library in 2011 and has been exhibited in a dozen major U.S. libraries. This show will be featured at the Beinecke Library in the British Museum of Art, Yale University in 2019. Great images of Great Britain.

His photos are in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Film Institute Library in London, Palm Springs Art Museum, UC Riverside Photography Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Marion Center for the Photographic Arts, Santa Fe, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Beverly Hills, Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Scripps College Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Marquette University Art Gallery, Milwaukee,  Santa Monica Museum of Art, and Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Yale University Beinecke Library, Yale Center of British Art, and the Cal State Fullerton Art Gallery.

Featured in numerous gallery exhibitions, current representation includes Melissa Morgan Fine Art, Palm Desert, CA; Louis Stern Fine Art, Beverly Hills, CA; and Alan Avery Art, Atlanta, GA.

A large retrospective of his works called ‘HAVING A BALL’, opened at the Palm Springs Art Museum on January 13th, 2018, and ‘STARSTRUCK’, a retrospective of his works on Hollywood films at the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, opened January 31, 2018.

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