Mitch Epstein (born 1952, Holyoke, Massachusetts) is a photographer who helped pioneer fine-art color photography in the 1970s, along with William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and Stephen Shore. Epstein’s work investigates the politics of human intimacy and how intimacy interacts with the world at large, while also examining how corporate and governmental power is changing the landscape in which we live.
His photographs are in numerous major museum collections, including New York's Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art; The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Tate Modern in London. In 2013, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis commissioned and premiered a theatrical rendition of Epstein’s American Power photographic series. This seminal series examines energy usage and excess in the United States. Epstein plays with the definition of American power, probing not just corporate power but the powers of sexuality and consumption. A collaboration between Epstein and cellist Eric Friedlander, the performance combined original live music, storytelling, video, and projected photographs and archival material. Epstein and Friedlander also performed at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio (2014), and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2015).
Epstein's fourteen books include Property Rights (Steidl, spring 2021), Sunshine Hotel (Steidl/PPP Editions, fall 2019); Rocks and Clouds (Steidl 2017); New York Arbor (Steidl 2013); Berlin (Steidl/The American Academy in Berlin 2011); American Power (Steidl 2009); Mitch Epstein: Work (Steidl 2006); Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 (Steidl 2005); and Family Business (Steidl 2003), winner of the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award.
In 2020, Mitch Epstein was inducted as an Academician to the National Academy of Design. In 2011, Epstein won the Prix Pictet for American Power. Among his other awards are the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters from the American Academy in Berlin (2008), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003).
Epstein has worked as a director, cinematographer, and production designer on several films, including Dad, Mississippi Masala, and Salaam Bombay!. He lives with his family in New York City.