He is known for The Night Shadow, an ongoing project in which he outlines shadows with chalk and photographs the result, and Suspended Forest, where he collects discarded Christmas trees and installs them in public spaces.
Neff is Editor in Chief of NSFW Magazine, co-published with photographer and writer Mark Velasquez.
He is also an alumnus of the Rhode Island School of Design and currently serves as Vice President of the RISD Alumni Council.
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All content © 2013 Michael Neff
The Panorama feature in iOS 6 on devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch was designed to make a seamless panorama when panned in an arc across a scene. This work takes advantage of the failure of the algorithm to stitch a seamless panorama when images are shot in a flat pan, the phone is held stationary while in a moving vehicle, or the phone is held stationary while something moves through its view. All of these uses provide enough data to the algorithm to make it attempt to work, with results very much unlike its designers intended.
Some of theses exposures (from start to stop of capture) are very long, up to 40+ seconds, so in a strange way time is captured somewhere between the decisive moment we think of as a photograph and the time-based capture we think of as video.
The Night Shadow project is born of an attempt to share a phenomenon I find beautiful. In my travels through the city at night I was constantly encountering thought-provoking shapes projected on streets and sidewalks that were cast by the lights we keep on at night. In an attempt to both draw attention to and temporarily preserve these projections I began outlining their contours in chalk. Chalk, like the shadows themselves, is a fugitive material, and while these drawings have lasted up to two years, in many cases they are washed away the next morning. I began making photographs of the completed pieces in an attempt to further preserve and share these fleeting installations and my appreciation for the beauty of the night.
This project is an ongoing series of chalk-outlined shadows at night in cities like New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Seattle and small towns in Oregon and California, and began in April of 2006.
Suspended Forest is an installation of discarded Christmas trees hung under the BQE in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was featured in Wooster Collective, Animal, Gothamist, Huffington Post, Inhabitat, and Recyclart to name a few.
While at the Vermont Studio Center I collaborated with writer Alena Graedon on an installation where I lettered selections of her work in water on a bridge railing in Vermont. The temperature was so cold that the water immediately froze but was very ephemeral, absorbed by the bridge, buffeted by snow, and melted when the temperature rose.
Photos taken as the Chelsea arts district dug out from the flooding caused by the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy.
Collagraphs, silkscreen prints, letterpress prints, and relief prints.
A series of cyanotype photograms of unfolded security envelopes. The long exposure of these prints produces an image that displays all of the marks on both sides of the envelope and the envelope itself.