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Opening Reception

Mark McKnight: 2019 Portfolio Prize Winner and the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards Shortlist

Friday, November 22

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Aperture Gallery and Bookstore 547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor New York, NY

Join Aperture for the opening receptions of both the 2019 Portfolio Prize Winner Mark McKnights’s exhibition and the 2019 Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards Shortlist. Mark McKnight’s black-and-white images of bodies and landscapes challenge Eurocentric ideas about male beauty—and aim to make “straight” photography a little less straight. The PhotoBook Awards Shortlist comprises thirty-five volumes, celebrating the book’s contribution to the evolving narrative of photography.

Mark McKnight (born in Los Angeles, 1984) was born to a New Mexican mother who struggled with their Southwestern, diasporic roots. In turn, McKnight grappled with reconciling his own identity, both as a mixed-race person of color and as a gay man—particularly one who neither exemplified nor desired the idealized, Eurocentric cultural standard of male beauty that is perpetuated even within gay culture. Since McKnight was raised in an environment that privileges white, heterosexual masculinity, his work operates as a site of resistance to those values. McKnight completed a Fulbright Scholarship in Finland in 2009, and he has also completed artist residencies at Storm King Art Center (2017) and Light Work (2019). In 2018 McKnight gave the first in a series of public lectures titled “Queer Eye,” in which he confronted the shortsighted legacy of “straight,” modernist photographic practice while proposing a queered historical revision; that same year he held two solo exhibitions that received favorable national reviews. His work was the subject of both a two-person gallery exhibition at Roger’s Office in Los Angeles and a multi-museum survey and catalogue. His most recent group exhibition, Close to Home (Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles, 2019), dealt with the themes of identity and abstract narrative. His work is currently represented by James Harris, Seattle.

About the Aperture Portfolio Prize

The purpose of the Aperture Portfolio Prize is to identify high-quality work by new voices in contemporary photography. When choosing the first-prize winner and runners-up, Aperture’s editorial and curatorial staff look for innovative bodies of work that haven’t been widely seen in major publications or exhibition venues.

The Portfolio Prize is open to Aperture magazine print subscribers and to Aperture Members at the $250 Friend level or above. For more information about the prize, visit

About The PhotoBook Awards

The Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, celebrates the book’s contribution to the evolving narrative of photography. Initiated in November 2012 by Aperture Foundation and Paris Photo, the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards celebrate the photobook’s contribution to the evolving narrative of photography, with three major categories: First PhotoBook, PhotoBook of the Year, and Photography Catalogue of the Year.

Image: Mark McKnight, Bodyfold, 2018; from the series Decreation

Aperture Foundation’s public programs are supported, in part, by generous donations from our Board of Trustees, our members and other individuals, corporate foundations and private foundations including the Grace Jones Richardson Trust.

Mark McKnight: 2019 Portfolio Prize Winner and the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards Shortlist