Jeanette May

Studio Building
Studio Interior
Studio Location
"Tech Vanitas: Gray Typewriter" 2015, Archival Pigment Print (Photograph)
"Tech Vanitas: Blue iMac" 2016, Archival Pigment Print (Photograph)
"Tech Vanitas: Green Instamatic" 2016, Archival Pigment Print (Photograph)
"Tech Vanitas: Black & White TV" 2016, Archival Pigment Print (Photograph)
"Tech Vanitas: Red Phone" 2016, Archival Pigment Print (Photograph)
Artist's Statement

We live in an age filled with devices that make domestic life faster, smarter, easier, and more complicated. The more we yearn to keep current—the newest phone, computer, camera, audio system, cofee maker—the more we produce, consume, and discard. Cutting-edge technology becomes outdated, embarrassing, collectible, and finally, antiquated or forgotten. My "Tech Vanitas" photographs confront the anxiety surrounding technological obsolescence. The photographs reference 17th Century Dutch “Vanitas” still life paintings and contemporary product ads. I capture precarious arrangements of domestic technological ephemera: a coffee percolator and film camera teeter atop a shiny boombox that spews magnetic tape across the keys of an Underwood typewriter. I record anachronistic technologies to confront still life’s traditional tension between temptation and rejection of worldly goods.


As a visual artist, I use a critical, sometimes playful, approach to investigate representation itself. Although I now work exclusively in photography, my background in painting influences the subjects I explore and my approach to art production. I “make” photographs: constructed, staged, lit, and carefully considered.

I received my MFA in Photography from CalArts and my BFA in Painting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I have been awarded grants, fellowships, and residencies from the NEA Regional Artists’ Projects Fund, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Ms. Foundation, and Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. My artwork is exhibited in galleries and museums internationally, including New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; Los Angeles; Toronto, Canada; Sandviken, Sweden; and Athens, Greece. I teach at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City and live in Brooklyn.