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Michael Lundgren: Matter


Summary Note

Matter, published in 2016, is the second major body of work produced by photographer Michael Lundgren. Materials in the archive include work prints and copies of journal entries from 2006 – 2016 about the work and the artist’s thought process.

Biographical Note

Photographer Michael Lundgren was born in Denver and grew up in upstate New York. He earned his BFA at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1997, and his MFA from Arizona State University in Tempe in 2003. He worked as the black-and-white printer for Mark Klett’s Third View Project from 2000-2004. He assisted Klett in 2005 with the re-photographic project After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire (UC Press, 2006). Lundgren published his first book, Transfigurations with Radius Books in Santa Fe in 2008, and then Matter in 2016. This third book, Geomancy appeared in 2019 from Stanley/Barker Books.

Lundgren was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017 and has been awarded accolades from the Magenta Foundation, 10x10 American Photobooks, The Silverstein Photography Annual, and the Arizona Governor’s Award. Lundgren’s work resides in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; the Fralin Museum of Art, Charlottesville, VA; Brandts Museum of Photographic Art, Odense, Denmark; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; and, the Nevada Museum of Art. Lundgren has exhibited at the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA; the Fralin Museum, Charlottesville, VA; Tokyo Photo, Japan; Paris Photo, France; and the Victoria & Albert Museum. More recently his work was included in exhibitions I Hear America Singing, at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan; After Ansel Adams at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; Fotografia Europea Festival, Earth Effect, Reggio Emilia, Italy; and a solo exhibition of Geomancy at the Hanmi Museum of Photography, Seoul, Korea.

Scope and Content

Matter, published in 2016, is the second major body of work produced by Michael Lundgren. He considers the work “essentially connected to the visual history of the altered landscape. These are photographs of human and natural artifacts that complicate our questionable division between nature and culture. They also speak to the original theme of the altered landscape, which … has more to do with perception and a transformative and ritual engagement with place than it does with 'documents' of human environmental devastation.” He considers his work to be “in relation to artists whose work resounds within a more spiritual and ritualistic engagement with place, whether it be Patrick Nagatani, Robert Smithson, John Pfahl or more contemporary artists such as Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, Geert Goiris or Boo Moon.” (Quotes from personal communication with William Fox). PhotoEye in Santa Fe noted that Matter functions more so as a portfolio of photographs than as a traditional book sequence. Here I become consumed by the desert landscape, enabling my psyche to be absorbed into the strange world Michael Lundgren has crafted. It is a body of work leaning towards the raw terror of the natural world, while also drifting into the realm of science fiction. There is a layering of tension hiding just beneath the surface and captured through a collision of reoccurring motifs suggesting death, human destruction, and transcendence into the cosmos. As if guided by a modern-day mystic, Matter takes us on a jarring and uncanny journey into the sublime.”


Folders are arranged chronologically by subject matter. The first five folders are journal entries, while the sixth folder contains the project’s work prints.

Inclusive Dates


Bulk Dates


Quantity / Extent

.5 cubic feet



Related Publications

Klett, Mark. After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2006.

Lundgren, Michael, and Aaron Rothman. If There be such Space. Charlottesville, VI: McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia, 2011.

Lundgren, Michael. Lundgren, Michael: Geomancy. London, England: Stanley/Barker, 2019.

Lundgren, Michael. Lundgren, Michael: Matter. Santa Fe, NM: Radius Books, 2016.

Lundgren, Michael. Lundgren, Michael: Transfigurations. Santa Fe, NM; New York, NY: Radius Books; Distributed Art Publishers, 2008.

Container Listing:

  • CAE Box 238

    • Folder 1 Journal (1), 2007
    • Folder 2 Journal (2), 2007 – 2009
    • Folder 3 Journal (3), 2010 – 2014
    • Folder 4 Journal (4), 2014
    • Folder 5 Journal (5), 2015 – 2016
    • Folder 6 Work Prints, 2006 – 2016