Mitch Kern


Communication Design

Associate Professor, Photography

“Behind every camera, behind every photograph, lies a photographer. A photographer with a point of view, with attitudes and beliefs, with fears, hates, needs, wants and desires, of which viewers may be unaware, of which the photographer her or himself may be unaware. I'm interested in how photography is inflected by culture and personality. And how, over time, this has had broad impact upon society, affecting our views upon everything from history to psychology to science to politics to art. As an extension of the human eye the camera discriminates. In the hands of individuals it pictures some things and excludes others. And what is pictured is done so in certain ways, for example, lovingly, or with contempt. ‘The photographer,’ wrote Susan Sontag, ‘is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.’ Indeed, photographs both reflect and shape our world in an ongoing dialogue between what authentically originates from within a culture and what is then fed back to that culture in the form of images. Images that are acted upon and beget still more images in an endless cycle of creation and dissolution. The further removed we become in the process the closer we get to what Jean Baudrillard called the “hyperreal,” where representation gives way to simulation. The camera as both taker and maker of images, simultaneously capturing what we see and what we want to see? From a critical perspective this is an alluring paradox. For contemporary photographers consciously constructing images, it opens up a world of possibility.”



Mitch Kern is a photographer, photo editor, curator, critic and educator whose twenty-five plus years of photography experience spans a wide gamut in both industry and academia, including fine art, commercial and documentary photography practice using digital, analog and video means. His work has been included in dozens of international, juried, invitational and solo exhibitions and catalogues, and he has received numerous grants awards in Canada, the Unites States and abroad, including international artists residencies in Spain, Hungary and India. He has worked as a photographer for international magazines, picture agencies and wire services, and as a photo editor for an international news magazine in Washington DC.


Master of Fine Arts, Photography, Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

Bachelor of Arts, Visual Art, Magna Cum Laude, University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Selected Professional Activity:

  • Society for Photographic Education, Panelist, New Orleans, LA, 2015.
  • Blind Spot, Curator, Alberta College of Art + Design, 2015.
  • Collecting Photographs, Artist Talk, Herringer Kiss Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, 2014.
  • College Art Association, Presenter, Chicago, IL, 2014.
  • Art vs. Commerce, Panel Discussion Moderator, Alberta College of Art + Design, 2013.
  • Best Business Practices in Photography, Panel Discussion Moderator, Alberta College of Art + Design, 2013.
  • Making Faces, Solo Exhibition, Truman Medical Center, Kansas City, Missouri, 2012.
  • 2012 Faculty Show, Invitational Exhibition, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art + Design, 2012.
  • Photography and the Future, Panel Discussion Moderator, Alberta College of Art + Design, 2011.
  • Wow Works by Gallery Artists, Invitational Exhibition, Byron Cohen Gallery for Contemporary Art, Kansas City, 2009.
  • Alberta Contemporary Photography, Invitational Exhibition, Triangle Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, 2008.
  • Good Medicine, Documentary Video, Producer, 2008.
  • 31st Annual Juried Competition, National Juried Exhibition, Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, Louisiana, 2007.
  • Ten Year Anniversary Exhibition, Invitational Exhibition, Keki Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, 2007.
  • Body Language, Solo Exhibition, Smoyer Gallery, Roanoke College, Roanoke, Virginia, 2006.     
  • Heading Home, Solo Exhibition, Southern Light Gallery, Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas, 2006.
  • Face to Face, Solo Exhibition, Sykes Gallery, Millersville University, Millersville, Pennsylvania, 2005.
  • Mitch Kern and Donald Lipski, Two Person Exhibition, Byron Cohen Gallery for Contemporary Art, Kansas City, 2005.
  • Identification Marks, Solo Exhibition, Southern Light Gallery, Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas, 2004.
  • La Fotoz Hatom, Solo Exhibition, Biggin Gallery, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, 2004.
  • Exhibition of American Art, National Juried Exhibition, American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois, 2003.
  • National Spring Open, National Juried Exhibition, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania, 2003.
  • Whitewash, Solo Exhibition, Zoller Gallery, Pennsylvania State University, 2002.
  • Vehicles, National Juried Exhibition, SoFA Gallery, Indiana University, 2002.
  • False Index, Invitational Exhibition, Zoller Gallery, Pennsylvania State University, 2001.
  • Intersections, Invitational Exhibition, Adam and Art Gallery, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, 2001.

Selected Publications:

  • Photo Editor, Not A Love Story, University of Toronto Press, Non Fiction, 2014.
  • Good Medicine, ARDN Rural Connector, Andrea Collins, May 1, 2014.
  • CTV Morning Live, Television Appearance with Jefferson Humphries, June 13, 2012.
  • Every Pixel Tells a Story, Heather McCoy, Calgary Herald, Page D2, February 5, 2011.
  • Catalogue, I Decided that a Chair was not Enough (Harry Bertoia), Museo Civico d’Arte, Milan, Italy, 2009.
  • Alberta Contemporary Photography, Jennifer McVeigh, Galleries West Magazine, January, 2008.
  • Catalogue, Alberta Contemporary Photography, Curators: Art Nishimura and Marc Hutchinson, Triangle Gallery, 2008.
  • Miscellaneous Parts Make Meaningful Whole, Hunter Ingalls, Amarillo Globe-News: Art Beat, December 10, 2006.
  • India Exhibition in Tolliver Gallery, Judith Roberts, Ruston Daily Leader, Page 3, Vol. 111, No. 68, March 20, 2006.
  • Catalogue, Texas National, Stephen F. Austin State University Art Center, Nacogdoches, Texas, 2005.
  • Cohen Gallery Exhibits Works by Kern, Lipski, Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, Page 19A, Friday February 25, 2005.
  • Images Cause Viewer to Contemplate Labels, Hunter Ingalls, Amarillo Globe-News, Vol. 4 #158, Page 10D, June 6, 2004.
  • Looking Deeper, Chip Chandler, Entertainment Weekly of the Globe-News, Vol. 4 #142, Page 8, May 21, 2004.
  • Taking Stock of Multiculturalism, Robin Trafton, Kansas City Star, Page 31, July 25, 2003.
  • Genetics in Medicine, Vol. 5, Number 3, Page 123, Cover, May/June 2003.
  • Exhibit Faces Themes of Cultural Homogeneity, Jessica Scott, Penn State Daily Collegian, March 22, 2002.

Selected Awards:

  • AACTI Research Innovation Grant, Good Medicine: Exploring Health and Wellness in Aboriginal Communities, 2008.
  • Artist Residency, Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Spain 2007.
  • Purchase Award, 6th Annual National Exhibition, Huber Art Center, Shippensburg University, 2006.
  • Artist Residency, Kanoria Center for the Arts, Ahmedabad, India 2005.
  • Purchase Award, 31st Annual Juried Competition, Masur Museum of Art, 2005.
  • Artist Residency, Hungarian Multicultural Center, Budapest, Hungary, 2004.
  • Summer Research Grant, Louisiana Tech University, 2004.
  • First Place Award, Exhibition of American Art, American Medical Association, 2003.
  • MFA Thesis Exhibition Grant, Pennsylvania State University, 2002.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Pennsylvania State University, School of Visual Arts, 2000 - 2002.
  • Paramount Pictures Undergraduate Scholarship in Visual Arts, 1995.