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Laura McPhee Professor, Photography MFA Program Coordinator, Photography
Photo of Laura McPhee standing with a large format camera on some boulders
  • education
    • BA, Princeton University
    • MFA, Rhode Island School of Design

Laura McPhee was born in Manhattan and grew up in central New Jersey. She earned her BA from Princeton University and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and is currently a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She lives in Brookline, MA.

She is noted for her stunning large-scale landscapes and portraits of the people who live and work in them. She is currently working in the desert west of the United States where she is chronicling visual stories about time, both geologic and human. A serpentine river cuts deep incisions in the land over ages. A gold mine on the edge of the Black Rock Desert has the earth slashed open and its ruddy interior revealed. A still-life found at the edge of an alkali flat reveals intricate details of daily life—a tiny plastic toy among shards of glass and rust, a penny, machine parts, and desert varnished tin cans. All contemplate the unintended consequences of humanity’s attempts to control and manage nature and how we use the earth and to what ends. A meditation on our material lives and on climate change, the images depict our paradoxical approaches as we at once protect, alter, and extract from the land.

Industry Experience

Selected Exhibitions

2022 – What We Do In The Shadows, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA
2021 – The Art Of Trees, Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH
2021 – Mirage: Energy, Water And Creativity In The Great Basin, Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID
2019- 2021 – Women Take The Floor, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2021 – Ansel Adams In Our Time, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR

Selected Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art,New York, NY
J. Paul Getty Center Museum, Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Selected Publications

2014 – The Home and the World: A View of Calcutta, (Yale University Press)
2011 – Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park, (Princeton Architectural Press)
2009 – Guardians of Solitude, (Iris Editions, London)
2008 – River of No Return, (Yale University Press)
1998 – No Ordinary Land, (Aperture)

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