Kenneth Josephson: Squared

Stephen Daiter Gallery is pleased to present Kenneth Josephson “Squared”.  This survey exhibition presents a cross-section of Josephson’s two-and-a-quarter inch negative works, beginning in the late 1950s up to the 2010s. Though the photographs themselves originate from the various series in Josephson’s oeuvre–most notably Marks and Evidence, Images within Images, and History of Photography–they are united not only in format but often in theme and character, and as a whole, are self- reflexive, experimental, and highly conceptual, the hallmarks of Josephson’s playfully intelligent photography.


Kenneth Josephson(1932), born in Detroit, was among the first generation of photographers to graduate with a degree in photography from the  now fabled Institute of Design, Chicago, where he studied with Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan.  Josephson began photographing as an adolescent after being introduced to the medium by a friend who had a darkroom.  Josephson bought a Crown Graphic 4×5 in 1946.  After graduating high school in 1950, he worked as a darkroom assistant in a portrait studio and as a messenger for the photography lab at General Motors. Within a year he was studying commercial photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology and in the spring of 1953, he received an associate in applied sciences certificate. Shortly thereafter he was drafted into the army, where he printed aerial reconnaissance photographs for use in intelligence and map-making. In 1955 Josephson returned to R.I.T. to study photography history with Beaumont Newhall, and Minor White, from whom he learned the Zone System.

By the fall of 1958, Josephson was attending the Institute of Design, and in the spring of 1960 he received his Master of Science degree from I.D. with his thesis project entitled, “Exploration of the Multiple Image.”  In the fall of that same year he began his teaching career at the School of the Art Institute.  In 1963 Josephson became a founding member of the Society for Photographic Education, and in 1964, John Szarkowski includes the artist in a major exhibition, “The Photographer’s Eye”  at the Museum of Modern art, New York, which traveled internationally to forty venues from 1964 to 1972. Over the next decades, Josephson traveled the globe and worked on a large number of projects, unified by continuous experimentation, creative use of humor and impeccable printing.   In 1997 Josephson retired from teaching.  In 1999-2000, “Kenneth Josephson: A Retrospective” – a career-embracing exhibition, accompanied by a catalogue, originated at the Art Institute and traveled to the Whitney Museum in New York.  Josephson has taken part in numerous exhibitions and his works are in almost every major American museum as well as countless private collections. Josephson recently was the subject of a major exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography that focused around his influence on subsequent generations of conceptual/art photographers.

In 2014, Kenneth Josephson: Selected Photographs, was published by the German-based Only Photography. And in 2016, a career-spanning retrospective of Kenneth Josephson’s work, The Light of Coincidence was published by University of Texas Press, Austin.