David Samuel Stern’s work centers on examining the photographic medium as a physical object and its often strange relationship to the portrayal of human subjects—the striking conflict that arises from photography’s mechanical, tangible nature, and portraiture’s innate and unrequited longing—as well as how so much is concealed in each. A photographer by training and a lifelong “photographic thinker,” Stern departs from the typical photographer’s concerns by delving into object-making and craft. Stern lists an assortment of artists including George Seurat, Abelardo Morell, Do Ho Suh, Taryn Simon, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tara Donovan, and Tom Friedman as influences.
Born in suburban Chicago in 1982, Stern received an MFA from Washington University, St. Louis, in 2006. His 2015 solo exhibition “Woven Portraits” was featured in BAM’s (Brooklyn Academy of Music) avant-garde Next Wave Festival of that year. Stern’s work has appeared in group exhibitions around the United States and has been highlighted in media and publications such as ignant.de, American Craft Magazine, and The California Sunday Magazine. Stern has been teaching photography since 2009, holding a visiting post at Pratt Institute in 2013, and independent teaching positions at other institutions around New York up to the present. He lives and works in Brooklyn.