Michael Jang’s is a unique story. For the last forty years, he has earned a living as a portrait photographer, capturing iconic figures such as Jimi Hendrix, Robin Williams, and William Burroughs, among others. However, this unassuming Asian-American photographer has also been simultaneously infiltrating and documenting a number of groups and subcultures from all strata of society: from celebrity parties in Beverly Hills to the youth of Castro’s Cuba, from South City gangs to Old West rodeos, and from the punk rock scene of the late 70s to the teenage garage bands of early 2000s San Francisco. His images are allegories of particular points in time, characterized by their candid honesty, decisiveness, and vivacity. SFMoMA has recently acquired a number of his early prints and has exhibited them alongside contemporaries such as Garry Winogrand, Diane Arbus, and Lee Friedlander.

 “It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what makes Jang’s work so captivating, which is precisely what makes Jang’s work so captivating… He’s a storyteller, skilled in the art of deception, or perhaps it’s more misdirection. At first glance at one of his images you get one story, look again and you’ll get three others. He’s a master of photographic omission, his work is as much about what’s not there as what is.” Erik Kessels

“Who is Michael Jang? I don’t know if he’s a hipster or a nerd, a conceptual genius or instinctual savant. All I know is that he takes some of the best pictures I’ve ever seen.” –Alec Soth

“If you had to invent a photographer who captured the essence of California in the 1970s and 80’s – its exuberance and dubious fashion sense, its rebellious subcultures and obsessions with celebrity – you would have to invent Michael Jang. His work is idiosyncratic and yet somehow imbued with his infectious personality, fresh and suited to these eclectic times, and he’s gone from being a largely forgotten portrait photographer, who stored his archive in boxes in his garage, to a respected figure on the Californian photography scene.”

Stephen McLaren
British Journal of Photography, September 2015.

 It’s interesting to compare this show with Garry Winogrand at SFMOMA - “The Jangs” offers a good dose what Winogrand’s work is missing. Personalities that jump across multiple contact sheets, people who know each other, relationships. If Robert Frank overlooked the suburbs and the seeds of American sprawl, Winogrand picked up on that, but then entirely missed what was going on inside the new construction.

Wayne Bremser

 The 70's. That golden age for photography, in which a new generation of artists put all of their interest in the medium, developing new techniques and investigating revolutionary formats. Michael Jang is one of them. Sharing walls at the SFMOMA next to other big ones such as William Eggleston, Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander, Jang's images take us to a past time which everything could be summed up to the strength of change. Where everything is yet to be done and there's eagerness to do it. And there he is, restless. Those first punk subculture snaps of the time, with the Ramones, Avengers and many others was just the beginning. We love Jang's photography because of its strength, because it brings young Bowie back and the adolescent garage boys, because he's witness of a time and of a true shot.

lamono magazine

 Previously under-the-radar San Francisco-based photographer Michael Jang has an unequivocal knack for capturing something virtually uncapturable in the people, places and things that populate his black-and-white snapshot and portrait photographs. No family member, celebrity, punk or poet is immune. A master of detection-evasion, over the past forty years he has quietly placed himself in both high- and low-profile events and locations and miraculously photographed strange or unique energy with his camera. This hefty, beautifully-produced, clothbound first major monograph from London-based Atelier Éditions highlights five decades of virtually unknown work over 250 pages—sophisticated and surprising coffee table gold. ARTBOOK/DAP


1977    MFA, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

1974    San Francisco Art Institute Summer Course with A.D. Coleman, and Ralph Gibson

1973    U.C. Berkeley Extension Summer Course with Lisette Model

1973    BFA, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA


Solo Exhibitions

2019 Michael Jang’s California. Curated by Sandra Phillips. McEvoy Foundation for the Arts; SF, September

2017    Pop Up Nite. Beams Tokyo. January
            Michael Jang is NO FUN. Seeing Things Gallery, San Jose. May

2014    Well, It’s All Over Now, Doomed Gallery, London

2013    The Jangs, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2012    Summer Weather, Inaugural Installation, Project Room, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA

2009    Punks and Poets: SF Subculture in the 70s, Pirate Cat Radio, San Francisco, CA

2008    Garageband, Miesiac Fotografii W Krakowie (Photo Month in Krakow), Krakow, Poland
             The Jangs, University High School, San Francisco, CA

1999    "Where do heroes go when they die?" Calumet Photographic Pro Center, San Francisco, CA


Selected Group Exhibitions

2018 Bystander. Leica Store SF. June

Way Bay 2. BAMPFA. July Berkeley.

2016    California and the West. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, May
            Collected. Pier 24. May
            Cybernetics by Hamburger Eyes 15th Anniversary.. Slow Culture Gallery, Los Angeles. February
            Celebrating 20 Years of DADA.  Streamline Salon with Gallery 60SIX. December
            City At Large 3. Adolf Gassers Parking Lot. July   

2015    Let’s Get Zeroxing, Book and Job Gallery, San Francisco, CA
            L. Quan, curated by Barry McGee. Ratio 3, November
            Peripheral Vision. The Battery SF. November

2014    I’ll Show you Mine, contemporary artists explore family portraiture. Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, CA
           A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photo Books (Summer Weather), Duke University, Power Plant Gallery,
           Durham, NC

2013    Early Works, Curated by Laura Moya and Laura Valenti Jelen, Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, OR
           San Francisco Days, RayKo Photo, San Francisco, CA

2012    Picturing Modernity: Photographs from the Permanent Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
           A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photobooks, Curated by Darius Himes and Larissa Leclair,
           Gallery Carte Blanche, San Francisco, CA, and FotoWeekDC Festival, Washington, DC
           Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience, Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco, CA

2011    Garden of Eden, presented by Hamburger Eyes, Orf Bookstore, Paris, France

2010    Casual Abyss, presented by Hamburger Eyes, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, San Francisco, CA
           The View From Here, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA

2009    Part One: San Francisco Plays Itself, 35th Anniversary Celebration, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA
             Slideluck Potshow SF II, Guest Curator, LeftSpace Studio, San Francisco, CA
            Trace Elements, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA
            U Don't Like Me I Don't Like You, presented by Hamburger Eyes, O.H.W.O.W. Gallery, Miami, FL

2008    Hamburger Eyes:  Inside Burgerworld, PowerHouse Books Arena, Brooklyn, NY

2005    James D. Phelan Art Award in Photography, Curator Sandra Phillips, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA

2003    Picturing Modernity: Photographs from the Permanent Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

2002    The Ramones, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH



  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA

  • The De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA

  • The New York Public Library, New York, NY

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH

  • National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY


Private Collections

  • Nion McEvoy

  • Chara Schreyer

  • David Mahoney

  • Bill Goodwin

  • Owen Wilson


Honors & Awards

2012    Shortlisted for First PhotoBook Award, Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards
Top 10 Indie Photo Books of the Year, Photo District News (PDN)

2011    Andy Warhol Foundation/Southern Exposure Grant, in conjunction with Owl & Tiger for the publication of Summer Weather

2005    Honorable Mention, James D. Phelan Art Award in Photography, San Francisco Foundation Arts Awards Program


Books /Zines

2019 “Who is Michael Jang?” Atelier Editions.

2017      Punk Zines made for Beams Tokyo (RED) and Seeing Things Gallery (BLUE) with Johnny Rotten and William Burroughs covers.

2015    “Well, it’s all over now”. The Photocopy Club, London

2014    “The Jangs X Los Angeles” Exhibition catalog for KesselsKramer LA

2013    College, San Francisco:  Hamburger Eyes

2012    Summer Weather, Chapbook Edition of 750, San Francisco: Owl & Tiger Books
            Summer Weather, Signed Edition of 25, San Francisco: Owl & Tiger Books

2011     Summer Weather, Special Edition of 15, San Francisco: Owl & Tiger Books

2010    One of a Kind, Zine, San Francisco: Hamburger Eyes
            “This is the Place,” Volume One, San Francisco: Self-Published

2003    The Local Nine: A History of Baseball in Marysville California, San Francisco: Preston House Books


Artist Lectures

2014    “Meet the Brady Bunch, Asian-American Style with Alina Simon,” BBC, NPR, PRI interview
            “Photography Salon with Eileen Gittens (CEO of Blurb) and Erin O’Toole (Assistant Curator of Photograpy SFMOMA),”
            The Battery SF, San Francisco, CA

2012    “The Hopefuls,” Pop-Up Magazine: A Live Event No. 6, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA

2010    Bay Area Photographers Collective (BAPC), Harvey Milk Building/SF Photo Center, San Francisco, CA
            “Jim Marshall,” Pop-Up Magazine: A Live Event No. 3, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA

2009   “Photography 2.0: The Business of Photography in the Digital Era,” Panelist, Photoshelter, San Francisco, CA



2019 “Who is Michael Jang?” British Journal of Photography, September Issue.

“The forgotten photos that made Michael Jang’s name” Financial Times Sunday Magazine. August.

2015    “California Redux” British Journal of Photography, September 2015

2014    “College.” American Suburb X TV.
            Miller-Gordon, Jesse. “Michael Jang’s College Series is the Unofficial Yearbook for His Graduating Class.” VICE, June 2014
            Trinder, Kingston. “Michael Jang’s Unseen Images of the 70’s America.” DAZED
            “The Yearbook We Never Had.” The Daily Mail, July 2014.
            “Old Cool: A Photographic Journey into the Lost College Parties of the 1970’s.” Nerve, July 2014
            “Strong.” Lamono Magazine (Spain), Issue 98, September 2014
            “Retronaut: Photographic Time Machine.” National Geographic, Fall 2014

2013    The Pitchfork Review, Issue 3. August 2013
            Coppelman, Alyssa.  “America’s Next Top Weather Reporter:  1980s Edition.” Slate, 17 January 2013

2012    Atwood, Chris. “Burger Meister.” The Bold Italic, 1 February 2012
            Esquire (Russia), Summer Weather and Mel Gibson, November 2012
            Leclair, Larissa and Darius Himes.  A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photobooks:  Selections from
            the Indie Photobook Library
.  Exhibition Catalog, 2012
            Phung, Linh. “On the Topic of Vintage Photographs & Asian-American Photographer Michael Jang.” AA Limelight,
            29 May 2012

2011    Abbe, Dan. “Michael Jang: Summer Weather.” American Photo, 16 October 2011
           Dear Dave, Beauty Contest, 2011 Swimsuit Issue
           Nitsch, Peter. “One of a Kind Photographer Michael Jang.” Get Addicted To… 14 February 2011
           Smithson, Aline. “Michael Jang: Summer Weather.” Lenscratch. 25 May 2011

2010    Bass, Paul. “Michael Jang: Black & White Photography.” We Are Selecters, 10 December 2010
            Brook, Pete. “Photog Distinguishes Himself by Looking Just Like Google.” Wired: Raw File. 9 September 2010
            “The Jangs,” OjodePez – Quarterly Documentary Magazine, Issue #20, Madrid
            Smithson, Aline. “Michael Jang: The Rip Van Winkle of Photography.” Lenscratch. 30 September 2010

2009    Seibel, Brendan. “Punk Rock, DIY Access and Secret Success: The Photography of Michael Jang.” Wired: Raw File.
             20 October 2009

2008    Hamlin, Jesse. “The fine art of family snapshots,” San Francisco Chronicle, Section E-1/E-5, 10 Nov 2008
             Miesiac Fotografii W Krakowie (Photo Month in Krakow), Exhibition Catalog, Krakow, Poland

2007    Hamburger Eyes:  Inside Burgerworld, Brooklyn: powerHouse Books
             Livebooks. “Michael Jang: Photographers in Focus Video Interview.” YouTube. 30 November 2007

2006    “Home Invasion,” URB (Sounds+Culture), Vol. 16, No. 140, October 2006
             “The Way We Were: a family portrait in America during the ‘70s,” Theme Asian Culture Quarterly, Spring
             “Western Union: Photos by Michael Jang,” PEACE Magazine, Moscow, Russia

2005    Chapin, Dwight. Book Review of “The Local Nine,” San Francisco Chronicle, Section D-2, 19 Aug 2005

2002    “The Kids Are Alright: the Garage Band Scene,” San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, 23 June 2002

1999    “Michael Jang: Where Do Heroes Go When They Die?” San Francisco Arts Monthly, September 1999

1999    “Visions of the West,” Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Volume 7, Number 2, May 1999

1996    Alcatraz, Carlos. “American Heroes: Michael Jang,” La Fotografia Actual, #58, Dec 1996/Jan 1997
            Altieri, Michael. “South City Heroes,” San Francisco Examiner Magazine, 15 Dec 1996

1979    Search & Destroy: Future History, The Dils, Vol. 2, No. 11, San Francisco

1978    Creative Camera Collection 5, London: Coo Press Ltd

1974    Reynolds, Charles. “3 Student Portfolios,” Popular Photography, Volume 74, No. 5, May 1974