Mitch Kern

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 headshot

Mitch Kern is a photographer, photo editor, curator and educator whose twenty-five-plus years of photography experience spans a wide gamut in both industry and academia, including commercial, editorial, documentary and fine art 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 and awards for his work in Canada, the Unites States and abroad, including international artists residencies in Spain, Hungary and India, and work as a photographer, curator and photo editor for international galleries, magazines, picture agencies and wire services.


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

  • Conundrums, Herringer-Kiss Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Calgary, AB, 2020
  • Standardizing Hospital Photographs by Expert Review, Co-principal Investigator, in collaboration with Dr. Marcia Clark, Dr. Jacques Branch and Dr. Asaad Qadori, University of Calgary, 2020
  • The Cop Who Saves Lives, Alberta Views Magazine, November 2019
  • Images from Everywhere, The Pinhole Project, Invitational, Seattle, WA, 2019
  • Presenter + Panel Moderator, Continuity and Change within Photography, Depth of Field Symposium, Alberta University of the Arts, 2019
  • Outside In, Exhibition Coordinator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2019
  • The Photographers, Herringer-Kiss Gallery, Invitational, Calgary, AB, 2018
  • Transformation, Herringer-Kiss Gallery, Curator, Calgary, AB, 2018
  • Summer Show, Herringer-Kiss Gallery, Invitational, Calgary, AB, 2018
  • I am Western, C-Space/King Edward, Invitational, Calgary, AB Alberta Contemporary Photography, Invitational, 2017
  • Edge of the Wild, Off Limits Arts, King Edward/C-Space, Performance, Invitational, Calgary, AB, 2017
  • Upside Down and Backwards, The Works Art & Design Festival, Edmonton, AB, 2017
  • Final Frontier, Telus Spark, Calgary, AB, 2017
  • Look/See, Calgary Teacher’s Convention, Telus Convention Centre, Calgary AB, 2017
  • Blind Spot: Blackout, Curator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2017
  • Encounters, Deville Loft, City Centre, Curator, Calgary, AB, 2017
  • Hack It, Performance, Telus Spark, Calgary, AB, 2016
  • Festivalscape, Performance, Calgary International Film Festival, Theatre Junction, Calgary, AB, 2016
  • Pop-Up Picnic, Performance, Hotchkiss Park, Downtown Calgary Association, Calgary, AB, 2016
  • Camper Obscura, Performance, Beakernight, Beakerhead Festival, Calgary, AB, 2016
  • Blind Spot: Silver Linings: Curator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2016
  • Inside Out, Performance, Tomkins Park, Beakerhead Festival, Calgary, AB, 2015
  • Blind Spot, Co-Curator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2015
  • Faculty Show, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Invitational, Alberta University of the Arts, 2015
  • Society for Photographic Education, Panelist, New Orleans, LA, 2015
  • Blind Spot, Curator, Alberta College of Art + Design, 2015
  • Not A Love Story, Photo Editor, University of Toronto Press, 2014
  • The Means of Production, Poster Presentation, Alberta Rural Development Network Conference, Alberta University of the Arts, 2014
  • Collecting Photographs, Artist Talk, Herringer Kiss Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, 2014
  • College Art Association, Panelist, Chicago, IL, 2014
  • Faculty Exhibition, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Invitational, Alberta University of the Arts, 2013
  • Art vs. Commerce, Panel Discussion Moderator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2013
  • Best Business Practices in Photography, Panel Discussion Moderator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2013
  • Making Faces, Solo Exhibition, Truman Medical Center, Kansas City, Missouri, 2012
  • CTV Morning Live, Television Appearance with Jefferson Humphries, June 13, 2012
  • Photography and the Future, Panel Discussion Moderator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2011
  • Wow Works by Gallery Artists, Invitational, Byron Cohen Gallery for Contemporary Art, Kansas City, 2009
  • Alberta Contemporary Photography, Invitational, 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, Keki Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, 2007
  • Artist Residency, Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Spain, 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
  • Artist Residency, Kanoria Center for the Arts, Ahmedabad, India, 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
  • Artist Residency, Hungarian Multicultural Center, Budapest, Hungary, 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 Thesis Exhibition, Zoller Gallery, Pennsylvania State University, 2002
  • Vehicles, National Juried, SoFA Gallery, Indiana University, 2002
  • False Index, Invitational, Zoller Gallery, Pennsylvania State University, 2001
  • Intersections, Invitational, Adam and Art Gallery, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, 2001
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Pennsylvania State University, 2000-02
  • Undergraduate Scholarship in Visual Arts, Paramount Pictures, 1995