People and places we have visited, 2010, 21 x 14 inches


Michael Cappabianca

(1969, American)             
Lives and works in Cambridge, MA, USA

From an email to the gallery:

“These photos started out as interiors in a bookstore/living space as you may have seen some of the non book related images. I'm going to trim the non-book photos off perhaps put in a separate web gallery, they just aren't cohesive enough as the book photos became the focal point. I started out with some photos of books in the space that were more "found".  Then I started to move them around, and once that happened I figured I was doing still lives. I felt I was coming to that point and thought "oh crap, I'm going to have to control everything" so they've stayed on the more elementary side of things trying not to juggle too many balls but looking closely at these things as forms, in relation to the structural space around them.  Connecting the book to the structure made the concept of Ideas and books and architectural elements(structure) or thoughts that much stronger.

So I've been building on the "forms" of books, resisting whenever possible to let the content of the book actually dictate the idea of the picture.  The hard thing is to not let the title or some obvious aspect of the book dominate a space that may have no relation to it, the main proving ground is in perception first, the concept comes later. The titles come about by using a book that may have been a focal point to start out with or in some cases what remained the main interest in the image.

I think there's a certain distance I keep with them. It's easy to get swept away with a ton of beautiful leather bindings and think it will make a great photograph. Romanticizing books is fairly easy. It's not that some of these don't have it,  but the overall picture has to work for the effect with the particular intellectual distance I keep. I do like books but I know they are not long in this world for practical purposes. The concrete nature of them help describe a visual connection between us and our ideas.  Someone I know once used the term "Crystals of the Imagination" to describe books. Rare gems these will be. I wonder what the virtual book could be called?  It has the same worth as knowledge, the same idea, more easily distributed, and seemingly even closer to the impermanence and immateriality of thought.” (Michael Cappabianca)               


2006    MFA Photography, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA
1998    BFA Photography, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA.

Selected Solo Exhibitions               

2011    The Material AVA Art Center and Gallery, Lebanon NH
2008    Exurbia: Recent photographs by Michael Cappabianca David Salow
Gallery, Los Angeles
2003    Between: Photographs by Michael Cappabianca, Basil Halward Gallery,
Portland, OR

Selected Group Exhibitions   

2012    Hey Hot Shot Second Edition 2011 Showcase, Jen Bekman Gallery, NY
2011    Chain Letter, NOMA gallery, San Francisco, CA
2009    Flat Files II, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2008    Defining Place, Center for Experimental Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, CA
2006    PhotoSF, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA
2006    Virus, Lobot Gallery, Oakland, CA
2006    California College of the Arts Graduate Exhibition. San Francisco, CA
2002    16x20, Group Polaroid Show, Basil Halward Gallery, Portland, OR
1998    In the Shadows: 20 emerging Photographers, Boston, MA

Selected Publications

Hey hey shot “Q&A with Michael Cappabianca” (online)
Whitefish Review #10 Winter 2011/2012
Ruby Mag Issue #57(online magazine) Sept-Oct 2011
American Photography 26 Fall 2010