Spotlight: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders is an award-winning photographer known for his strikingly intimate portraits of world leaders and major figures in fashion, art, music, and cinema. He shoots the majority of his work in large format, 11×14–inch black-and-white film, and 8×10 color film in a direct, clear-eyed style that has long been one of his unmistakable trademarks.

“In essence, Greenfield-Sanders’ bare-bones approach to portraiture ropes off the subject museum-style for close, aesthetic observation. All subjects are treated equally—celebrities, politicians, even the porn stars,” wrote Lorna Gentry in a 2009 profile of Timothy for Professional Photographer magazine. “If you stand back and take a long view of his considerable body of work…you’ll see a theme emerge: Common to the images is the subject’s unmasked, unflinching stare.”

Timothy’s photographs have been exhibited widely, with recent shows including “Supermodels of the 70s and 80s,” a series inspired by an editorial shoot he did for Vanity Fair, where he is a contributing photographer. (He’s also a contributing columnist to The Huffington Post.) His 2006 portrait series of injured soldiers and marines back from the war in Iraq has been reproduced and exhibited worldwide. And his work has been published in numerous books, among them 30 Porn-Star Portraits in 2004.

Timothy is also an award-winning filmmaker. Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, his movie about the musician Lou Reed, won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video. And his 2007 project, The Black List, is a collaboration with Elvis Mitchell comprising interviews and portraits of leading African Americans in the U.S. The film component of the project premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008, and the portraits opened in July 2008 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The most recent film installment, The Black List: Volume 3, aired on HBO in February 2010, and selected portraits were exhibited at the Paley Center in Los Angeles and New York.

Regardless of which medium he’s working in, Timothy has remained consistent in his artistic vision, and that vision has always been inspired by the people in front of his camera. As he told Professional Photographer, “I’ve stayed true to myself. I never felt I could do lots of different types of photography. I was interested in people.”

Here’s a look at Timothy’s work:


Anna Wintour. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, from the portfolio "Fashion Personalities."

Steven Tyler. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, from the portfolio "Musicians."

John Cameron Mitchell. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, from the portfolio "Actors."

Christie Brinkley. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, from his series "Supermodels."


An ad for the HBO documentary "Alive Day Memories." Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, from the portfolio "Advertising."

Elaine de Kooning. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, from the portfolio "Artists."

Al Sharpton. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, from the portfolio "Politicians."

Michael Lucas. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, from the series "Porn Stars."

Click to see more from the portfolio "Covers."



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