Max Hirshfeld is recognized as a master at capturing decisive moments while revealing the humanity of his subjects. He has undertaken several focused projects over the past two decades. From 2002-2005, in a series titled One Shot, Hirshfeld captured individual pedestrians in a single frame of film amid the chaos and color of urban settings in major cities across the United States. For his 2008 series, Looking at Looking, he spent over a year wandering through the National Gallery of Art, documenting visitors as they viewed world-class works in the collection. In the spring of 2013, Hirshfeld commenced his Illuminaries series, which highlights key players in the Washington, DC arts and cultural scene. The project serves as an important record of the extraordinary figures contributing to the advancement of Washington arts. In 2018, Hirshfeld was part of Du Quotidien — a team project commissioned by Art in Embassies, US Department of State — and contributed over forty portraits of university students for the new US Embassy in Niger.
Hirshfeld was born in North Carolina in 1951, grew up in Decatur, Alabama, and moved to Washington, D.C. to study photography at George Washington University, graduating in 1973. After five years as a staff photographer with the Smithsonian, he opened a studio in Washington, DC shooting for advertising, design, and editorial clients. His fine art work has been shown at major galleries in Boston, Toronto, and Washington, as well as at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Kreeger Museum and is part of the permanent collection of the City of Washington, the National Portrait Gallery, and Yad Vashem Museum. He has won silver and bronze awards from the Prix de la Photographie Paris and been featured in Communication Arts, American Photography, and GRAPHIS. His editorial work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Time, Vanity Fair, and other national publications.
His first book, Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, was published by Damiani in 2019. In it, Hirshfeld shares photographs of his mother's first return to Poland after forty-six years along with impressions of growing up under the shadow of the Holocaust. Additionally, through more than eighty letters, Sweet Noise tells the love story of his parents who met in a Polish ghetto, survived Auschwitz only to then endure a grueling four-year separation before finally settling in America. Along with Curatorial Exhibitions, Sweet Noise: Love During the Holocaust is in development as a traveling exhibition starting in 2023.
WRITINGS / PODCASTS
Podcast - Frames Magazine
International Photography Awards
Jewish Book Council
Jewish Book Week
New York Times Magazine
Photo District News
The Jewish Chronicle