© Stephen Wilkes 2018


STEPHEN WILKES: The Big Picture: Breaking Barriers in Fine Art & Commerce

Orientation Sunday, May 6th, 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Monday, May 7th – Wednesday, May 9th, 9:00am – 4:00pm. Thursday, May 10th 9:00am – 11:00am (Optional)

In this unique workshop, Stephen Wilkes, world renowned for his fine art and commercial large scale photography will discuss how he goes about wrangling so much narrative content into the frame of his photograph and how his unique vision has propelled him into the ranks of today’s most successful fine art photographers.

He will talk about how his subtextual use of narrative helps him to “find his picture.” Photographing large scenes as he does requires a very unique skill-set. Wonder why large landscape scenes can look breathtaking in reality but so very boring in photographs? Wilkes brings his concentration on narrative to bear on solving the problem of how to capture “the Big Pictures” that he’s famous and respected for in our industry.

This workshop will explore the ideas and practice of making large-scale fine art images, including images destined to be very large photographs, as well as how he makes large scenes into images that work in his editorial and advertising career. How do you consolidate content in an image that encompasses vast areas, vistas, or interior / exteriors of factories and other locations? Learn how Stephen Wilkes makes his Big Pictures.

This is not a class about large-format photography – attendees need not photograph using large-format cameras. Wilkes makes pictures using medium-format digital cameras as well and will be using them for this class. Attendees will be able to photograph using the latest Pentax and Fuji medium format digital cameras in this class.

Wilkes has chosen to return to one of his favorite surreal landscapes for this class: The Salton Sea, California’s most troubled lake. Once a lure for tourists, a fluctuation in sea level has flooded settlements and forced people to abandon their homes, leaving buildings to rot in the salt encrusted water. This abandoned and decaying area will provide a dramatic environment for exploration. The region attracted a fair share of unusual individuals, such as the artist Leonard Knight, who has redesigned the desert landscape with adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint. He and his national folk art shrine “Salvation Mountain” will be another exciting subject for the participants.

PRICE: $1230



Since opening his studio in New York City in 1983, photographer Stephen Wilkes has built an unprecedented body of work and a reputation as one of America’s most iconic photographers, widely recognized for his fine art, editorial and commercial work.

His photographs are included in the collections of the George Eastman Museum, James A. Michener Art Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Dow Jones Collection, Griffin Museum of Photography, Jewish Museum of NY, Library of Congress, Snite Museum of Art, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Museum of the City of New York, 9/11 Memorial Museum and numerous private collections. His editorial work has appeared in, and on the covers of, leading publications such as the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Time, Fortune, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and many others.

Wilkes’ early career interpretations of Mainland China, California’s Highway One, and impressionistic “Burned Objects” set the tone for a series of career-defining projects that catapulted him to the top of the photographic landscape.

In 1998, a one-day assignment to the south side of Ellis Island led to a 5-year photographic study of the island’s long abandoned medical wards where immigrants were detained before they could enter America. Through his photographs and video, Wilkes helped secure $6 million toward the restoration of the south side of the island. A monograph based on the work, Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom, was published in 2006 and was named one of TIME magazine’s 5 Best Photography Books of the Year. The work was also featured on NPR and CBS Sunday Morning.

In 2000, Epson America commissioned Wilkes to create a millennial portrait of the United States, “America In Detail,” a 52-day odyssey that was exhibited in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Day to Night, Wilkes’ most defining project, began in 2009. These epic cityscapes and landscapes, portrayed from a fixed camera angle for up to 30 hours capture fleeting moments of humanity as light passes in front of his lens over the course of full day. Blending these images into a single photograph takes months to complete. Day to Night has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning as well as dozens of other prominent media outlets and, with a grant from the National Geographic Society, was recently extended to include America’s National Parks in celebration of their centennial anniversary. The series will be published by TASCHEN as a monograph in 2018.

Wilkes’ work documenting the ravages of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy has brought heightened awareness to the realities of global climate change. He was commissioned by the Annenberg Space for Photography to revisit New Orleans in 2013 after documenting Hurricane Katrina for the World Monuments Fund. And, his images were exhibited with his photographs on Hurricane Sandy in the 2014 Sink or Swim, Designing for a Sea of Change exhibition.

Despite his intense dedication to personal projects, Wilkes continues to shoot advertising campaigns for the world’s leading agencies and corporations, including: OppenheimerFunds, SAP, IBM, The New Yorker, Johnson & Johnson, DHL, American Express, Nike, Sony, Verizon, IBM, AT&T, Rolex, Honda, McCann Worldwide, Ogilvy & Mather, and McGarry Bowen.

Wilkes was invited to speak at the TED2016: Dream Conference on his Day to Night series. He is currently working on a documentary film about legendary photographer Jay Maisel. His photograph, Wrigley Field, Chicago, Day to Night, 2013 was included in Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843- Present, an exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum curated by Gail Buckland.

Wilkes’ extensive awards and honors include the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography, Photographer of the Year from Adweek Magazine, Fine Art Photographer of the Year 2004 Lucie Award, TIME Magazine Top 10 Photographs of 2012, Sony World Photography Professional Award 2012, Adobe Breakthrough Photography Award 2012 and Prix Pictet, Consumption 2014. His board affiliations include the Advisory Board of the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications; Save Ellis Island Board of Directors, on which he served for 5 years; and the Goldring Arts Journalism Board.

Wilkes was born in 1957 in New York. He received his BS in photography from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a minor in business management from the Whitman School of Management in 1980.

Wilkes, who lives and maintains his studio in Westport, CT, is represented by Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York;  Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe; and ARTITLEDContemporary, The Netherlands.

Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography, Adweek Magazine Photographer of the Year, Lucie Award Fine Art Photographer of the Year, Epson Creativity Award, Multiple Communication Arts Awards of Excellence,
The Art Directors Club Distinctive Merit, Graphis, Multiple Photo District News Awards of Excellence, Multiple American Photography Awards of Excellence, Lucie Awards 1st. Place, Fine Art, Ellis Island: Ghost of Freedom
Lucie Awards 1st. Place, Professional Photographer, Editorial, The Rise of Big Water, Prix De La Photographie Paris, Honorable Mention; Human Condition, World In Focus PDN Portraits/ Sense of Place, PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris Fine Art Series, Photojournalism, Adobe Breakthrough Photography Award, Communication Arts Photography, Sony World Photography Awards Professional.

America In Detail, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, 2000
Soho Triad Fine Arts, Ellis Island New York, NY, 2001
Soho Triad Fine Arts, The Female Form on the Lava Beds of Hawaii, New York, NY, 2002
Apex Fine Art, Ellis Island, Los Angeles, CA, 2003
Monroe Gallery of Photography, Ellis Island, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2004
Apex Fine Art, Bethlehem Steel, Los Angeles, CA, 2004
Monroe Gallery of Photography, Bethlehem Steel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2005
World Monuments Fund Gallery, In Katrina’s Wake, New York, NY, 2006
David Gallery, Ellis Island Revisited, Los Angeles, California, 2006
Monroe Gallery of Photography, Ellis Island Revisited, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2006
ClampArt, Stephen Wilkes, Ellis Island, New York, April 2007
ClampArt, Stephen Wilkes, China, New York, April 2007
Grifffin Museum of Photography, Stephen Wilkes, Ellis Island, January 2008
Chicago Cultural Arts, Stephen Wilkes, Ellis Island, July 2008
David Gallery, China, Los Angeles, California, January 2008
ClampArt, The Construction of the Olympic Stadium and other Chinese Public Works, NY, June 2008
Monroe Gallery of Photography, China, Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 2008
Fairfield Museum, Images, April 2009
Steuben Glass Gallery, NYC Ellis Island. November 2009
James A. Michener Art Museum: Ellis Island, Doylestown, PA, June 2010
Nu-Art Link Gallery, Westport, CT China , November 2010
Clampart Gallery, Day to Night, New York New York, September 2011
Fairfield Museum , Connecticut Responds 9/11, September 2011
Monroe Gallery of Photography, Day to Night, Santa Fe April 2012

George Eastman House International Museum of Film and Photography, Dow Jones Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Library of Congress, Griffin Museum of Photography, Jewish Museum New York, Barclays Bank Corporate Collection, James A. Michener Art Museum, The Historic New Orleans Collection

California One, The Pacific Coast Highway, Friendly Press 1987
Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom, W.W. Norton 2006