(AMERICAN, b. 1950)
Ira Elliot Kahn was born in San Francisco and introduced to photography as a seven year old boy while living in Cambodia. In 1965 Kahn began to develop his craft, doing beautiful work in the darkroom where his passion for fine prints was born as he learned how to make them. His work was first exhibited in 1967. Kahn studied studio art and film making at Stanford University, receiving his degree with distinction in 1972. Today, his work can be found in distinguished public and private collections.
Intimacy and form are the cornerstones of Kahn's work. Delight in seeing inspires it; abstraction and craftsmanship realize it. So much of our world is given to imitation. In contrast, Kahn works with conditions and subjects that reflect a genuine nature of their own. He renders them in a way that builds upon essential but often hidden and obscure characteristics. Kahn's photographs are true to their subjects though always interpretive and rarely representational. "The union of mystery and vitality in the art of so many ancient and tribal cultures is a fundamental influence in my work." Like ceremonial masks that reveal more than they conceal, Kahn's photographs are conduits through which otherwise unknown qualities are expressed.
"It's hard to characterize Ira Kahn's work. Some call him a photomuralist; he simply calls himself a photographer. But there is nothing simple about his fine art photography instalations; signature pieces that hang on the walls of some of the best-known businesses in America." - Vanessa Warner