Duane Michals is one of the greatest artist of all times. His work makes innovative use of sequential images, which often deal with myths and mysteries and for his creative extension of the possibilities of the photographic medium. He also experimented with combining text and drawings with his images.
Interested in art from a young age, Michals took classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. At the University of Denver, Colorado he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1956, after service in the army, he continued following his interest in the arts at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, with a plan to become graphic designer. His photographic career began in 1958, when he traveled to the Soviet Union and made portraits of people on the streets with a borrowed camera. On his return, he worked as a freelance photographer for Vogue, Esquire, Mademoiselle, and Life magazines, doing fashion photography and portraits.
Over the years, Michals’s approach to expressive photography changed considerably. His early interest in street happenings led him to make single documentary images of events that were considered part of what then was called the “social landscape.” In the mid-1960s he lost interest in straight documentation. Inspired by the work of such painters as René Magritte and Balthus, Michals began to address literary and philosophical ideas about death, gender, and sexuality. He usually staged scenes to be photographed and worked with multiple exposures, sequences, and series.