Eighteen years ago, in 2001, California-born photographer Michael Jang, then fifty years old, submitted an unsolicited catalogue of photographs taken during the 1970s and ’80s to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for consideration. The museum had a policy which encouraged such submissions, though very rarely did anything ever come of it. In Jang’s case, it did. The work was good, very good. Curators Sandra S. Phillips and Douglas Nickel bit. The result, now, is an exhibition at the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, SF, as well as a book titled Who Is Michael Jang?
And so, who is Michael Jang?
Jang first discovered photography while taking an elective course while studying to be a design major. He was inspired by the works of Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, and Diane Arbus, and went about capturing images on the street himself. He spent the better part of ten years photography, with a unique brand of humor, everything from family members to members of government, high rollers to rock ‘n’ rollers. For high-profile events, Jang would make fake press passes and don black tie attire to sneak in. His audacity resulted in a candid, up-close-and-personal view into worlds rarely seen.
Header image: David Bowie signing autographs, 1973. © Photographs by Michael Jang.