Rebecca Solnit

The Amazing Michael Lundgren

If you come here seeking something particular you may find only it.
Or find nothing. But if you come seeking the desert it will be given to you in time,
if you take care not to get so irrevocably lost that you too become bones out here,
but lost enough to find what you did not know you were looking for.

—Excerpt from Rebecca Solnit’s essay, Desert Music

In the Fall of 2008, Radius Books published desert dweller Michael Lundgren’s first monograph Transfigurations. The photos are informed by the characteristic transience of the desert. In his statement, Lundgren mentions that even seemingly permanent rocks are bound to the law of change. In the past six months he has received countless accolades and attention for his work.

Just this past April, 20×200 featured two images by Lundgren, hailing the photos for their “mysterious gorgeousness” and the photographer for his talent, devotion and brilliance. 20×200 founder Jen Bekman has been generous to non-profits since the inception of the business, and the sale of one of these two photographs directly benefited Radius Books. (She also informally nominated us “publisher of the most gorgeous black & white books”!)

This year, Lundgren was awarded a place in Flash Forward 2009 Magenta Foundation’s Emerging Photographers exchange. They will feature his work in a book of their winners as well as in a traveling exhibition that will open initially at Lennox Contemporary in Toronto, in October 2009.

The West Midlands based development agency Rhubarb-Rhubarb is having a 10 year anniversary called Photography is Dead. The agency asked ten of their reviewers to select a single outstanding photographer from the past ten years to feature in the exhibition. Lundgren was selected by the Martin Barnes, the photography curator at the V&A Museum, London, who was stirred by the “literary and philosophical references both of historical and contemporary relevance” within Transfigurations. You can read his entire text here (as a pdf).

Photo-blogger Sara Distin was brought back home to the desert while viewing his work. After attending a lecture by Micael Lundgren, Miguel Garcia-Guzman, a writer at Exposure Compensation described his experience of the photographs, the book and the lecture itself.

You can see more of Michael’s work, as well as his Phoenix Postcard project, at his website. His work will also be on view at the V&A Museum as part of their rotating permanent collection, A History of Photography, until April 2010.