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Mitch Kern

Mitch Kern (b. 1965 New York) is a photographer and educator who has been working in the field since the early 1990s. His work has been featured in 75+ exhibitions including over a dozen solo shows. He has an extensive publication record and client list, an MFA in photography from Penn State University and a BA in visual art from the University of Maryland. Kern is an associate professor of photography at the Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary. His work explores themes of identity, perception, emotion and communication through portraits of people and animals. Using digital, analog and video means he creates images that challenge viewers to question their own assumptions and biases. One example of his work is Wild Suburb, a series of photographs that depict people wearing animal masks in urban settings. The masks create a contrast between the human body and the animal face, suggesting a sense of alienation, confusion or curiosity. The masks also hide the facial expressions of the subjects, making it difficult to read their emotions or intentions. Another example is Conundrums, a series of photographs that show animals interacting with human-made objects or environments. The animals are either curious, playful or fearful of these unfamiliar elements, revealing their personalities and emotions. The photographs also raise questions about the relationship between humans and nature, and how we affect each other’s lives. Kern maintains an active photography practice and teaching career. His work is represented by Herringer Kiss Gallery in Calgary.


MFA, Pennsylvania State University, 2002

BA, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Magna cum Laude, 1999


Work Experience

Associate Professor, Alberta University of the Arts, Calgary, AB, 2016-Present

Assistant Professor, Alberta University of the Arts, Calgary, AB, 2012-16

Acting Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Alberta University of the Arts, Calgary, AB, 20112-12

Head of Photography, Alberta University of the Arts, Calgary, AB, 2006-11

Assistant Professor, Louisiana Tech University, LA, USA, 2003-06

Assistant Professor, University of Central Missouri, MO, USA, 2002-03

Graduate Teaching Assistant (Instructor of Record), Pennsylvania State University, 2000-02

Staff Photographer, Tribune Media, MD, USA, 1997-2000

Interim Photo-Editor, Insight Magazine, Washington, DC, USA, 1996-97

Photography Intern, Tribune Media, MD, USA, 1990-91

Principal, Mitch Kern, Photographer, 1990-present


Select Professional Activity

Exposure 2023, Herringer-Kiss Gallery, Calgary, AB, 2023       

The Visitor, Performance, 2023 ACIFA Conference, Chateau Lake Louise, 2023       

The Mushroom Issue, Savour Magazine Cover/Feature, Jun/Jul Issue, 2023       

The Drowning of an Artist, Presentation, 2023 ACIFA Conference, Chateau Lake Louise, 2023       

Pantalla Parade, Reading, Ruberto Ostberg Gallery, 2023       

Subvert a Genre, Curator, AUArts, 2023       

Photo 23 Open Call, Co-curator, AUArts, 2023       

Upside Down and Backwards, Calgary Camera Club, Blackfoot Inn, Calgary, AB, 2023       

Eye to Eye, NW Stake Centre Youth Group, Calgary, AB, 2023       

Pantalla Parade, Text by Laura Swart, Photography by Mitch Kern, Sea Crow Press, C. 2022

In My Kitchen with Nancy Brown, Savour Magazine Feature, Jun/Jul, 2022

Harvest Fermentables, Savour Magazine Cover, Sep/Oct, 2022

Seeing is Believing, Research Soiree, AUArts, 2022

With Time, Curator, AUArts, 2022

More than a Feeling, Curator, AUArts, 2022

2022 Photography Showcase, Co-curator, AUArts, 2022

Summer Group Show, Herringer-Kiss Gallery, Calgary, AB, 2021

Honey, Honey: A Crash Course in Liquid Gold, Savour Magazine Feature, Sep/Oct, 2021

Forged by Fire, Savour Magazine Feature, Mar/Apr, 2021

Standardizing Hospital Photographs by Expert Review, University of Calgary, 2021

Conundrums, Herringer-Kiss Gallery, Solo, Calgary, AB, 2020

Standardizing Hospital Photographs by Expert Review, University of Calgary, 2020

Bodies of Knowledge, Petex Bldg, Solo, Calgary, AB, 2020

International Journal of Africana Studies, Cover Photo, National Council for Black Studies, 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, AUArts, 2019

Outside In, Exhibition Coordinator, AUArts, 2019

Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team Poster, Calgary Gymnastics Centre, Calgary, AB, 2019

Bodies of Knowledge, Petex Bldg, Solo, Calgary, AB, 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, 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, Telus Spark, Calgary, AB, 2016

Festivalscape, Calgary International Film Festival, Theatre Junction, Calgary, AB, 2016

Pop-Up Picnic, Hotchkiss Park, Downtown Calgary Association, Calgary, AB, 2016

Camper Obscura, Beakernight, Beakerhead Festival, Calgary, AB, 2016

Blind Spot: Silver Linings: Curator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2016

Inside Out, Tomkins Park, Beakerhead Festival, Calgary, AB, 2015

Blind Spot, Co-Curator, Alberta University of the Arts, 2015

Faculty Show, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta University of the Arts, 2015

Not A Love Story, Photo Editor, University of Toronto Press, C. 2014

The Means of Production, Poster Presentation, Alberta Rural Development Network Conference,

AUArts, 2014

Faculty Exhibition, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Invitational, AUArts, 2012

Exposure Launch, Peter Lougheed House, Invitational, Calgary, AB, 2012

Making Faces, Truman Medical Center, Solo, Curator: John Bluford, Kansas City, MO, 2011

Wow Works by Gallery Artists, Byron Cohen Gallery, Invitational, Kansas City MO, 2009

Alberta Contemporary Photography, Triangle Gallery, Invitational, Calgary, AB, 2008

Good Medicine, Director, Documentary Film, Calgary, AB, 2008

31st Annual Juried Competition, Masur Museum of Art, National Juried, Monroe, LA, 2007

Ten Year Anniversary Exhibition, Keki Gallery, Invitational, Budapest, Hungary, 2007

Body Language, Smoyer Gallery, Roanoke College, Solo, Roanoke, VA, 2006

Heading Home, Southern Light Gallery, Solo, Amarillo, TX, 2006

Faces of India, Tolliver Hall, Solo, Louisiana Tech University, 2006

Face to Face, Sykes Gallery, Millersville University, Solo, Millersville, PA, 2005

Kern and Lipski, Byron Cohen Gallery for Contemporary Art, Two-Person, Kansas City, MO, 2005

La Fotoz Hatom?, Biggin Gallery, Solo, Auburn, AL, 2004

Identification Marks, Southern Light Gallery, Solo, Amarillo, TX, 2004

Exhibition of American Art, American Medical Association, National Juried, Chicago, IL, 2003

Inventory Show, Byron C. Cohen Gallery, Invitational, Kansas City, MO, 2003

Whitewashed, Zoller Gallery, Solo, Pennsylvania State University, 2002

Baker’s Dozen, Adam and Art Gallery, Invitational, Bellefonte, PA, 2002

False Index, Zoller Gallery, Performance, Pennsylvania State University, 2001

Intersections, Adam and Art Gallery, Invitational, Bellefonte, PA, 2001


Grants and Awards

Upside down and Backwards, The Works International Visual Arts Society, Edmonton, AB, 2017

Edge of the Wild, Off Limits Arts, King Edward/C-Space, Performance, Calgary, AB, 2017

Camper Obscura, Beakerhead Creative Society/Calgary Foundation, Calgary, AB, 2015

Good Medicine, Health Canada, Alberta Association of Colleges and Technical Institutes, 2008

Artist Residency, Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Spain, 2007

6th Annual National Exhibition, Purchase Award, Huber Art Center/Shippensburg University, 2006

Artist Residency, Kanoria Center for the Arts, Ahmedabad, India, 2005

31st Annual Juried Competition, Purchase Award, Masur Museum of Art, 2004

Artist Residency, Hungarian Multicultural Center, Budapest, Hungary, 2003

5th Annual National Exhibition, Third Place Award, Huber Art Center/Shippensburg University, 2002

31st Annual National Juried Exhibition, Honorable Mention, Masur Museum of Art

Exhibition of American Art, First Place Award, American Medical Association, Chicago, IL, 2003

Whitewash, MFA Thesis Grant, Pennsylvania State University, 2002

Rural Portraits, University of Central Missouri, 2002

Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Pennsylvania State University, 2001

Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Pennsylvania State University, 2000

Undergraduate Scholarship in Visual Arts, Paramount Pictures, 1995

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