American, born 1971
In narrative photographs, Amy Stein captures uncommon views of life that explore the complex and often ambiguous relationship between individuals and their environment.
Informed by actual newspaper accounts and oral histories, Domesticated explores the complex and paradoxical relationships that form between people and wild animals as urban sprawl increasingly spills into space previously only inhabited by wildlife. The behavior of each are modified in these encounters and a new natural history is created. As Stein states in her artist statement, “We at once seek connection with the mystery and freedom of the natural world, yet we continually strive to tame the wild around us and compulsively control the wild within our own nature.”
Halloween in Harlem, inspired by Helen Levitt’s portraits of children, shows the make-believe of childhood played out against the bustling and gritty New York neighborhood of Harlem. As the children live in their fantasy worlds, taking part in familiar rituals that define growing up in America, they play the parts of superheroes and animals; vibrant and colorful costumes contrast with the gray rectilinearity of the city. Along busy avenues and graffiti-covered streets, they frolic and collect candy from the many liquor marts, dollar stores, and check cashing places.
In 2006, Stein was a winner of the Saatchi Gallery/Guardian Prize for her Domesticated series. In 2007, she was named one of the top fifteen emerging photographers in the world by American Photo magazine. She won the Critical Mass Book Award, as well as Best Photography Book honors at the New York Photo Awards for her monograph, Domesticated, published in 2008 by Photolucida. Her work has been acquired by many private and public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Nevada Museum of Art, George Eastman House, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Stein was raised in Washington, DC, and Karachi, Pakistan. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles and teaches photography at Cal State Long Beach.