Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

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Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Toni Morrison The Pieces I Am (46939703775).jpg
Greenfield-Sanders in 2019
Timothy Greenfield

(1952-02-16) February 16, 1952 (age 71)
Known forPhotography, documentary films
SpouseKarin Sanders
Website Greenfield-Sanders.com

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (born February 16, 1952) is an American documentary filmmaker and portrait photographer based in New York City. The majority of his work is shot in large format. [1]


Early life

Greenfield-Sanders was born on February 16, 1952, in Miami Beach, Florida, to musician and teacher Ruth W. Greenfield (née Wolkowsky) and lawyer Arnold Merrin Greenfield. [2] [3] [4] [ failed verification ] He graduated from Ransom Everglades School and received a BA in art history from Columbia University in 1974 and a MFA in film in 1977 from the American Film Institute (A.F.I). [5] [6]



Greenfield-Sanders has photographed well-known figures. [7] [8] [9] The USPS George H.W. Bush "Forever" stamp is based on Greenfield-Sanders' portrait of the former President. [10] 700 of his art world portraits are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. [11] [12] He was on the masthead, as a contributing photographer, of Vanity Fair from 1990 to 2017. He also contributed photos to Barron's and the SoHo Weekly News. [13]

Greenfield-Sanders was initially interested in filmmaking, pursuing a degree at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, where he also took portraits for the school's archive of visiting directors, actors and film stars. "Because of AFI, I got tips from celebrities as well as access to them," he says. Alfred Hitchcock once remarked, "Young man, your lights are all wrong," while Bette Davis criticized him harshly for "shooting from below", according to a Photofocus.com article. Admitting to Davis that he was eager to learn more about portraiture, she invited him to drive her around Hollywood for a week in exchange for her thoughts on photography. Greenfield-Sanders credits Davis with alerting him to the work of George Hurrell and the art of large-format cameras. [14]

Greenfield-Sanders makes large-format portraiture. He began his career in 1978 using a vintage 1905 Fulmer & Schwing view camera with 11"x14" Ektapan black and white film. He made contact prints from the large-format negatives. Today, with that film discontinued, he shoots with a 1930s Deardorff studio camera on 8"x10" Kodak color negative. He shoots only a handful of frames. [14]

His work has been exhibited in the United States at The National Portrait Gallery, The Newseum, Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The San Antonio Museum of Art, and The Annenberg Space for Photography. [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]


His first documentary film, Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, about the musician Lou Reed, won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video. [22] The film premiered in the U.S. at the Sundance Film Festival and in Europe at the Berlin Film Festival. [23] It aired on the American Masters series on PBS. [22]

Greenfield-Sanders exhibited "Thinking XXX", a series of clothed and nude portraits of porn stars, at the Mary Boone Gallery from October 30 to December 18, 2004. [24] During the photo shoots for the exhibition, he directed an HBO documentary, also called Thinking XXX , about the adult stars. His son-in-law Sebastian Blanck worked with him on Thinking XXX as a composer. [25] On October 15, 2004, Greenfield-Sanders was profiled on 60 Minutes . About the XXX project, art critic David Rimanelli in Artforum stated: "Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, the tremendously successful photographer of presidents, Supreme Court justices, movie and music stars, famous writers, and the full panoply of artists, dealers, and critics who constitute the art world, has turned his large-format 8 x 10 Deardorff camera on the parallel universe of pornographic stardom." [26]

Starting in 2008, Greenfield-Sanders directed and produced The Black List , a series of three documentary films. "Volume 1" premiered at The Sundance Film Festival. [27] All three films aired on HBO. Portraits taken by Greenfield-Sanders for the project were first exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2008, then at Brooklyn Museum, [28] the Hartford Atheneum, and the Paley Center in New York City and Los Angeles. [29] From October 27, 2011, to April 22, 2012, all 50 images from the series were shown at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. [27] The Black List won an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary.

In 2010 and 2011, Greenfield-Sanders directed and produced The Latino List: Volumes 1 & 2. Both films aired on HBO. His portraits from the series were exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the High Museum in Atlanta. In 2012, he completed another film, About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, an examination of beauty through the eyes and lives of supermodels from the 1950s to the 1980s. This documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO on July 30, 2012. [30] He also directed and produced The Out List, which aired on HBO on June 27, 2013, just as United States v. Windsor was decided. Edith Windsor attended the HBO premiere event in New York.

On September 23, 2014, Greenfield-Sanders aired, on PBS' American Masters series, The Boomer List, which starred well-known persons representing each of the baby boomer years of 1946–1964. His portraits of the 19 subjects were exhibited at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. On September 25, 2015, his film The Women's List aired on PBS' American Master series. His portraits of subjects from the documentary along with 35 other images of women, from his archive, were exhibited through December 31, 2015, at the Hearst Tower Alexey Brodovitch Gallery.

In 2016, Greenfield-Sanders directed and produced The Trans List. Trans journalist and author, Janet Mock, conducted the interviews. The film received grants from The Ford Foundation, The Arcus Foundation and The Annenberg Foundation. Among the eleven subjects were Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox. It aired December 5, 2016, on HBO. In addition to the documentary, Greenfield-Sanders photographed 29 other trans subjects to include in his "list" survey exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography. This exhibition was the first time that all 151 portraits from the Black, Latino, Out, Women's and Trans 'list' projects were presented together. On December 4, 2016, Greenfield-Sanders was profiled on CBS Sunday Morning by Serena Altschul.

Greenfield-Sanders' latest film, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am , premiered on January 27, 2019, at the Sundance Film Festival. The film explores the extraordinary life and artistry of Toni Morrison, the legendary Nobel laureate. Interviewees include Morrison, Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, and Oprah Winfrey, among others. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am won numerous film festival awards, including the 2020 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary, and was nominated for three Emmy Awards.






Greenfield-Sanders' work is held in the following permanent collections:

One-person exhibitions

Personal life

He is married to lawyer Karin Greenfield-Sanders (née Sanders). They have two children: painter Isca Greenfield-Sanders and filmmaker, Liliana Greenfield-Sanders. [91]

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