Michael Kolster

Associate Professor of Art and Director of Visual Arts Division of Department of Art

Teaching this semester

VART 1401. Photography I

Photographic visualization and composition as consequences of fundamental techniques of black-and-white still photography. Class discussions and demonstrations, examination of masterworks, and field and laboratory work in 35mm format. Students must provide their own 35mm non-automatic camera.

VART 2402. Photography and Color

A continuation of principles encountered in Visual Arts 1401, with an added emphasis on the expressive potential of color. Cameras of various formats, from the 35mm to the 4x5, are used to complete assignments. Approaches to color film exposure and digital capture, manipulation, and printing are practiced and the affect of color is examined. Through reading assignments, slide presentations, and discussions, students explore historical and cultural implications of color photography. Weekly assignments and group critiques structure class discussion.

Michael is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow and associate professor of art at Bowdoin College. He lives in Maine with his wife, Christy Shake, and son, Calvin. He is currently producing ambrotypes for a project about American post-industrial rivers and stereo pairs of plastiglomerates, hybrids of rock and plastic, on the beaches of the island of Hawai’i.

Since 2012 Micheal has mounted solo exhibitions at Schroeder Romero & Shredder Gallery in New York City; the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine; Page Bond Gallery in Richmond, VA; 621 Gallery in Tallahassee, FL; the College of Southern Maryland; SRO Gallery at Texas Tech in Lubbock; Gallery 263 in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Space Gallery and PhoPa Galleries in Portland, Maine. Loupe, the Journal of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University and Memorious have published portfolios of his river photographs. He participated in the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art Biennial in October 2015 and George F. Thompson Publishing will be publishing a book of his eastern river ambrotypes in the fall of 2016. 

An earlier project similarly concerned with land use policy and its implications, entitled Changing Places, depicted changes in Las Vegas, San Francisco and New Orleans over a 10-year time span. In 2009 a 23-image portfolio from Changing Places was acquired for the permanent collection of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography in Rochester, NY. Work from the same series was featured in Consilience - The Journal of Sustainability, published through Columbia University. In 2008, he received the Sydney B. Karofsky Prize for Junior Faculty at Bowdoin in recognition of his teaching.

Kolster was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has lived in Rochester, New York; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Boston, Massachusetts; and San Francisco, California.

Michael maintains a website, The Daily Post, to which he posts a photograph each day since 2002. 

slide slide slide slide


  • M.F.A Photography, Massachusetts College of Art; Boston, 1992
  • Documentary Certificate, International Center of Photography; New York City, 1989
  • B.A. American Studies, Williams ; Williamstown, MA, 1985

PDF Curriculum Vitae

Works, Recent, and Current Projects

Exhibition Record


2017 Three Ways, American University of Paris, forthcoming

2015 Take Me to the River, Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA

2014 Proving Ground, PhoPa Gallery, Portland, Maine

2013 Rivers Lost and Found, SRO Gallery,Texas Tech School of Art, Lubbock,TX

itiswhatitis, Space Gallery, Portland, Maine

2012 Still Life:Photographs on Glass,Schroeder Romero and Shredder Gallery,NewYork,NY

A River Lost and Found, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME James River Photographs, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond,VA

Down by the River,Tony Hungerford Gallery, College of So. Maryland, La Plata Two Rivers, 621 Gallery,Tallahassee, FL

2009 New Orleans, Muskie School for Public Service, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME 2008 Dwell, n., Icon Contemporary Art, Brunswick, ME

2007 Flux,Area Gallery,USM,Portland,ME (catalog) photographs from New Orleans 2005-06 2006 comeandsee,The Map Room, Portland, ME (catalog)

2005 The Daily Post Grids, Space Gallery, Portland, ME Multiples, Icon Contemporary Art, Brunswick, ME

2003 Mojave, Kingston Galler y, Boston, MA

1999 Selections, FVA, San Francisco, CA

1994 Houses, Bank of Oakland, Oakland, CA

1992 From Here to Now, Boston University Bookstore, Boston, MA


2015 The Redemption of the Schuylkill, Slought Foundation, Philadelphia. PA, with Geoffrey James 2003 Coastal, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME

Botanica, Round Room Gallery, Danforth Museum, Framingham, MA, 2002 Maine Coast: Photos and Paintings, Saco Museum, Saco, ME

Botanica, Landau Gallery, Belmont, MA

Juried Group

2015 Wet Plate Collodion, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Director’s Award 2014 Landscape Today and Tomorrow, LLB Galleries, SUNY Geneseo

A Sense of Place, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Augusta, GA Scope:The Southern Landscape,Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC

75 Years of Photography at City College, SF Camera Work, San Francisco, CA

2012 National Exposure Revisited, ARC Galler y, Chicago. IL

Art in the Open, Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, PA

2011 Art on Paper National Juried Exhibition, MFA, Circle Gallery, Annapolis, MD ETAL, California Museum of Photography, Riverside

The Suburban Challenge, Salem Art Association, Salem, OR

Hand+Eye - Curators Choice Gallery,TTL Gallery, Durham NC (catalog)

2010 Altered: National Juried Photography Exhibition, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL 2009 New England Photography Biennial, Danforth Museum, Framingham, MA

National Photography ’09,The Main Street Gallery, Groton, NY

American Visions Photography – Going Green, Museum of Anthropology at CSU, Chico, CA 2002 Biennial, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME

Plugged In, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME 1997 Photo Review Juried Annual, Philadelphia, PA, juried by Emmet Gowin 1994 Magic Silver, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky

Photo 94, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA Juried Annual, Center for the Visual Arts, Oakland, CA MetroPhoto Annual, San Francisco, CA

1992 Graduate Students of New England, Kingston Gallery, Boston, MA

Publications and Reviews

2016 Take Me to the River,monograph,GeorgeThompson Publishing,forthcoming Fall

The Daily Post - http://dailypost.bowdoin.edu (ongoing)

2015 The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, 3rd Edition, Christopher James

Topsham: From the River to the Highlands, by Robert C.Williams

Maine Photographs:A History (1840-2015),by Bischof,Danly,and Shettleworth,DownEast Books River Glass, Boom: A Journal of California, Summer,Vol. 5, No. 2, text by Matthew Klingle

LA River Ambrotypes, F-Stop Magazine, Issue #71, Summer  

2014 From the River: Michael Kolster’s Handmade Photographs, KCET Artbound, Nov 24 2012 Loupe Vol 2, Issue 3, Journal of the Photographic Resource Center, Boston

Memorious Issue18, A Journal of New Verse and Fiction

2010 Consilience –The Journal of Sustainable Development,Vol.3,Issue 1,Columbia University,NY

Last Days of the Coliseum, Connecticut Public Television, Richard Hanley, producer 2007 New Orleans Photographs 2005-2006, catalogue

2006 Four Projects:The Map Room as an Image-Making Device, catalogue

1997 Photo Review Annual, Philadelphia, PA

1991 From Here to Now, commissioned book, Allendale Columbia School, Rochester, NY


2015 “Past and Present Perspectives,” Britta Konau,The Portland Phoenix, 1 April

“Maine Event:ExcellentArt onView in Portland Biennial,”S.Smee,The Boston Globe,Dec 15 “Portland Museum of Art’s Biennial,” D. Kany, Portland (ME) Press-Herald, Oct. 18

“The PMA Biennial” B. Konau, Portland Phoenix, Nov. 4

“Art Review:The PMA Biennial,” S. Bouchard,The Bollard, Nov 5

2014 “Take Me to the River:Wet Plate Photography by Michael Kolster,” 35to220.com, June 12 2012 “Shock of the New,Amazing Use of the Old,”Phil Isaacson,Portland Press Herald,August

“Androscoggin Project Gains Attention,” Kathryn Skelton, Sun Journal, Lewiston, ME, June “Michael Kolster: Making a Glass Wall,” Kevin Logghe, Fotosavant.com, July “Resemblance,” Mark Harley, Richmond Arts Review, 14 September

“Michael Kolster Explores the James River,” FanoftheFan.com, 19 September

“New Photography by Michael Kolster,” Rebecca Barnabi, Examiner.com, September “Michael Kolster: Still Life, Photographs on Glass,” NY Art Beat, July

“A River Lost and Found,” 207 News Magazine segment, WCSH6 TV, Por tland, ME, July

2011 “The Androscoggin Then and Now,” article and video, Kathryn Skelton, Sun Journal, Lewiston 2008 “Dwell, n. at Icon” David Raymond, Art New England, June/July

“He Points, Shoots, Makes a Point” Philip Isaacson, Maine Sunday Telegram, April 2006 “Don’t Forget New Orleans” Beth Brogan, Times Record, Brunswick, ME, October

“comeandsee” Philip Isaacson, Maine Sunday Telegram, August

“Eye Cartography” Ian Paige, Portland Phoenix, July

2004 “Multiples at Icon” Chris Thompson, Art New England, June/July “Kolster’s Decisiveness” Philip Isaacson, Maine Sunday Telegram