Biography

Amy Elkins (b. 1979 Venice, CA) is a photographer currently based in the Greater Los Angeles area.  She received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally, including at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA; Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, Austria; the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, AZ; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; North Carolina Museum of Art; Light Work Gallery in Syracuse, Aperture Gallery and Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York, De Soto Gallery in Los Angeles, the Houston Center for Photography in Houston, TX among others. Elkins has been awarded The Lightwork Artist-in-Residence in Syracuse, NY in 2011, the Villa Waldberta International Artist-in-Residence in Munich, Germany in 2012, the Aperture Prize and the Latitude Artist-in-Residence in 2014 and The Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant in 2015.

Elkins' first book Black is the Day, Black is the Night won the 2017 Lucie Independent Book Award.  It was Shortlisted for the 2017 Mack First Book Award and the 2016 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Prize as well as listed as one of the Best Photobooks of 2016 by TIME, Humble Arts Foundation, Photobook Store Magazine and Photo-Eye among others.

Her work stems out of an exploration of masculinity and male identity often within constructed or impermanent environments.  Elkins’ earlier work, Wallflower (2004-2008), looks into the nuances of gender identity, vulnerability and the female gaze.  She later went on to investigate aspects of male identity and athleticism through projects Elegant Violence (2010),  where she documented young Ivy League rugby players moments after a game and Danseur (2012), looking to young male ballet dancers moments after intensive training.   In 2016 Elkins returned to the Wallflower portrait.  Though unlike the original series, which aimed the lens at cisgender men almost entirely photographed within her personal space, Wallflower II explores a much broader sense of masculine identity- shot in the personal space of strangers in urban and rural Georgia upon first meeting and found through online calls / searches surrounding ideas of masculinity and gender in the American South. The work aims to confront socially constructed ideas and standards surrounding both gender and masculinity, vulnerability and beauty.

In 2009 Elkins began working on Black is the Day, Black is the Night, which stretched over a span of 8 years.  The project explores how memory and notions of self are impacted by isolation and long term imprisonment.  This work was made directly through correspondence with men serving life and death row sentences in some of the most maximum security prisons in the US.  It is often shown side by side with Parting Words, a visual and macabre archive created out of state sourced material of the 500+ prisoners to date executed in the state of Texas.  

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