Image Credit: Anya McInroy

"Leon Borensztein brings this tradition to bear in his work, but does not belabor it. He shot modest homes, inhabited by unassuming people. He instructed his subjects specifically not to smile, a marked contrast from the faux-mirth and conviviality of his commercial work, which often relied on the same subjects. Reflecting on what the portraits represented, Borensztein once suggested his black and white images reflect the alienation so typical of today's America."

- Ishaan Tharoor

Leon Borensztein is an internationally acclaimed photographer whose areas of focus are in psychological portraiture and documentary. Throughout his artistic career he has been driven by the need to give voice to the unheard and unseen.  His latest book “Sharon” is a testimony of a father documenting every stage of the challenged life of his severely disabled daughter. His earlier published books “Metamorphosis”, “One is Adam, One is Superman” and “American Portraits” are visual documentations of salient moments in the lives of his subject’s.

 

Born in Poland in 1947, Borensztein received an MFA with honors from the San Francisco Art Institute and additionally received the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1987. He has exhibited his work in nearly 10 countries and 32 cities internationally, at numerous galleries and museums. His work is included in the collections of Biblioteque Nationale Paris, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, San Francisco MOMA, Chicago Art Institute, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and among other institutions. His photography has appeared in Life Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, while reviews and profiles have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Vogue, Fortune, Huffington Post, and countless others. He teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute and lives in Oakland, CA.

Born

1947       Poland

 

 

Education

1980      MFA, Photography, Honors, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco

1974      BFA, Creative Art & Geography, University of Haifa, Israel 

 

 

Teaching

2004-Present     San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco

2004      California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland  

2002      San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco

2000      San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco

1998        San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco 

1994        San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco 

1991          The Friends of Photography, Annual Member Workshop 

1986         University of California, Berkeley 

1979         San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco  

1975-7     Art Department, University of Haifa 

 

 

Selected  Public  Collections

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois • Biblioteque Nationale, Paris, France • Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona • Centre Nationale de la Photographie, Paris, France • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas • Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California 

• Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon • Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California • Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan • di Rosa Preserve • B.P. America • First National Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 

Selected  Solo  Exhibitions

2015     Michael Foley Gallery, New York, New York (2 person show)

               Smith Andersen North Gallery, San Rafael 

2005     Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California 

1995      Center for Creative Growth, Oakland, California

1989      The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (3 person show)

1988      Centre Nationale de la Photographie, Paris, France

1987      The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio

               Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco 

               Bay Vista Gallery, Miami, Florida

1986     The Friends of Photography, Carmel, California

              Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 

              School of Art and Architecture, University of Illinois

1985     San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco

1984     Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon 

              Photographers’ Gallery, London

1977      University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

1976      Beth Katz Gallery, Haifa, Israel 

Selected  Group  Exhibitions

2011       Pier 24 Gallery, San Francisco, California

               Religare Art Gallery, New Delhi, India

               DiRosa Preserve, Napa, California  

2010     Museum Gugging, Maria Gugging, Austria

2007     ABCD Gallery, Paris, France

2006     Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, California

2004     Musee de la Mode de Marseille, Marseille, France

                Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, California

2003     Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, California

2002     Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, California

                Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, California

2001      Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, California

2000     Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, California

1999       Faculty Exhibition, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California

1998       Faculty Exhibition, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California

                Di Rosa Preserve, Napa, California 

1997       Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, California

1996       G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Santa Monica, California

                Osaka Takashimaya, Osaka, Japan 

                Laforet Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan 

                Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia 

                Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

                S.F. Art Institute 50 Years of Photography, San Francisco, California 

1995      Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan

               Fotos Gallery, San Francisco, California 

1994      Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, Oregon

1992      Portraits of 20 Century, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

               San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, California

               Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, California

1991       The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 

               Napa Valley Museum, Napa, California

1990     Athletes, traveling exhibition sponsored by The Smithsonian

              Institute and International Center for Photography

              Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, California  

              Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio

              San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, California

1989     The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (3 person show)

              New York State Museum, Albany, New York 

              Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, California

              Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware 

              San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, California

1988     Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, California

              Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Canada 

              San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, California 

              Photographic Resource Center, Boston, Massachussets

              The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois 

1987     Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, California

              Tartt Gallery, Washington, DC. 

              Hoffman Borman Gallery, Santa Monica, California

1986     Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, California 

              Aperture Foundation, “Mothers and Daughters” (traveling)

              Museum of Art, Eugene, Oregon (A Commitment to Vision)

              San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, California 

              Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon

1985     Faculty Exhibition, University of California, San Francisco, California 

              Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon 

1984     San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, California

1983     Nexus Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia 

              San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California

1974     America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Tel Aviv, Israel

1973     America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Tel Aviv, Israel 

             University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel 

1972     America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Tel Aviv, Israel 

             University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel 

1971      Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel 

Selected  Publications

2016    GUP Magazine, Amsterdam, Holland

              SHOTS 131, USA

2011     “American Psyche” Catalog, Religare Art Gallery, New Delhi, India  

2010    “Judith”, Museum Gugging, Austria 

2007    l’Art Brut, Lausanne, Switzerland 

2003    “Touching Feeling”, Duke University Press, Durham 

1999     “Local Colors”, The di Rosa Collection of Contemporary

              California Art, Chronicle Books, San Francisco

1996     Life Magazine, December, New York 

1995     “American Photography”, New York 

              “Harper’s Magazine”, June, New York 

              Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Catalog 

              “ZYZZYVA” Tenth-Anniversary Issue, San Francisco 

              “Nippon Camera”, August, Tokyo, Japan 

1994     “The New York Times Magazine”, New York 

              “Lifelines”, Dutton Children Books, New York 

1991      “Dog Prints”, Chronicle Books, San Francisco 

1990     “ZYZZYVA”, San Francisco 

1989     “Dogs Days”, Chronicle Books, San Francisco 

              “Photo Magazine”, February, Paris, France 

1988     “Cliches”, No. 47, July, Paris, France 

              “Cross Country, Cross Currents”, San Francisco / Boston 

1987     “Mothers and Daughters”, Aperture, New York 

              “Athletes”, A. Knopf, New York 

1986     “San Francisco Observed”, Chronicle Books, San Francisco 

              “ZYZZYVA”, San Francisco

              “Commitment to Vision”, Museum of Art, Eugene, Oregon 

              “J.A.C.O.B.S’” Letter, San Francisco 

1985     “Photo”, Paris, France 

1984     Leon Borensztein, Catalogue, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland 

1983     “Photographies Magazine”, Numero 2, Paris, France 

Selected  Awards

2003    California Council for the Humanities 

1995      1st  Tokyo International Photo-Biennale 

               11th  American Photography in photojournalism, NY Times Magazine.

               Society of Newspaper Design in Photojournalism, NY Times Magazine.

1987      J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship

 

 

Published  Books

2016    “Sharon”, Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany

2012    “Portraits ii”, Nazareli Press

2011     “American Portraits 1979-1989”, Nazareli Press

2004   “One is Adam One is Superman”, Chronicle Books, San Francisco 

1977     “Metamorphosis”, Creative Growth Art Center, Oakland

 

Photographs  in  Movies

1997     “Mothers and Daughters” documentary film, ABC, USA

1991     “Challenge Anneka” TV program ABC, Australia