Misha Gordin

Misha Gordin was born in 1946, the first year after World War II ended. Having survived the hardships of evacuation, Gordin’s parents returned back home to Riga, Latvia, after the war which was then under Soviet occupation. Growing up among the Russian speaking population of Latvia, Russian became Gordin’s root culture. He graduated from the technical college as an aviation engineer but never worked as such. Instead he joined Riga Motion Studios as a designer of equipment for special effects. At this time social realism was an official culture of the country and having little formal knowledge about art, Gordin did not care about it too much. Information about modern western art was scarcely available.

Gordin started to photograph when he was nineteen, driven by his desire to create a personal style and vision. He was involved in portraiture and did some documentary shots, but soon realized the results were unsatisfactory. Putting his camera aside, Gordin concentrated on reading (Dostoevsky, Bulgakov) and cinematography (Tarkovsky, Parajanov). He was constantly looking for the right way to express personal feelings and thoughts using photography.

One year later it came to him clearly and simply. Gordin decided to photograph “concepts” rather than the literal capturing of a moment on film. In 1972, Gordin created his first, and most important image, Confession. Instantly recognizing the potential possibilities of his conceptual approach and the knowledge acquired from creating this image, Confession become the backbone for the work he has since produced.

In 1974, after years of disgust with communist authorities, Gordin left Latvia and immigrated to America.


J.J. Brookings Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA. Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ. Tomson Gallery, Minneapolis, MN. North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND. Klein Art Works, Chicago, IL. Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, MO. Dennas Museum, Traverse City, MI. Bentley, Tomlinson Gallery, Scotsdale. AZ. Mark Masouka Gallery, Las Vegas, NV. Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA. Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI. Habitat Galleries, Bay Harbor Islands, FL. Nagasse Photo Salon, Tokyo, Japan. Everson Museum of Arts, Syracuse, NY. Jessy Besser Museum, Alpena, MI. Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, MI. Trace of Gravity, Gilbert Gallery, Chicago, IL. Kiva Gallery, Boston, MA. Foto Gallery, New York, NY.


1988 Michigan Concil for the Arts, Creative Artist Grant. 1987 Michigan Arts Award, Art Foundation of Michigan. National Endowment for the Arts, Visual Artist Grant. Gold Medal, International Photosalon, Reims, France. Gold Medal, International Salon of Photography, Reims, France.


Art Institute of Chicago, IL. National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan. Internatinal Museum of Photography, Rochester, NY. Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris, France. Toledo Museum of Arts, Toledo, OH. Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY. Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL. Dennas Museum, Northwestern Michigan University, MI. Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, IL.

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