About Michael Knapstein Photography


Michael Knapstein is a fine-art photographer who has earned international recognition for his insightful and nuanced visual exploration of the American Midwest. Based in Middleton, Wisconsin, his photographs have earned more than 350 national and international awards for work in both color and black and white. He was named International Landscape Photographer of the Year by the Barcelona Foto Biennale and International Portfolio Photographer of the Year by the Moscow International Foto Awards. He twice won Grand Prize in the prestigious Pollux Awards (based in England). Photolucida (Portland, Oregon) named him a Critical Mass Finalist four times. And the Royal Photographic Society chose him as one of only nine international winners in their Documentary Photography Awards. His photographs have been widely published and exhibited through a variety of solo, juried and group exhibitions in more than 22 countries on five continents. 

Knapstein's work has been recognized by a wide variety of organizations, including: American Advertising Federation, Camera USA (Naples, FL), Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO), Center for Photographic Art (Carmel, CA), Center for Photography at Madison, Chasing the Light, Exposure International (Modesto, CA), Grand Prix de la Couverte (Paris, France), Kemper InsuranceKodakLa Grande Photo International Photography Awards (Paris, France), LensCulture (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Moscow International Foto Awards (Moscow, Russia), Monochrome Awards (London, England), National Geographic, Nikon, Neutral Density Awards (London, England), Nutshell Magazine1X Photo Awards(Uppsala, Sweeden), Photolucida (Portland, Oregon), Photography Masters Cup(London, England), Photographic Society of America, PhotoMidwest, PhotoPlace Open (VT),  Prix de la Photographie Paris -- PX3 (Paris, France), Shadow and Light Magazine, SundanceSony World Photography Awards, 3M, The Nature ConservancyThe Pollux Awards (Kent, England), The Portfolio Project (New York), The Royal Photographic Society (Bath, England), Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts & LettersWhitness to Nature, Wisconsin News Photographers AssociationWisconsin Trails Magazine, World Photography Festival (London, England), World Photography Organisation (London, England) and the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards (Kent, England). His photographs are also included in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography (Rochester, NY),Racine Art Museum (Racine, WI), Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA) and Nikon House (New York, NY), in addition to numerous corporate and private collections.

Recent Award and Exhibition Highlights

2024

  • Wisconsin Photography 2024 – Three photographs selected for statewide juried exhibition. Racine Art Museum’s Wustum Museum.  Racine, Wisconsin. August 28 – November 23.
  • Oriel Colwyn Exhibition – 15 photographs included in the Royal Photographic Society’s Documentary Photography Awards Exhibition. Oriel Colwyn Gallery. Colwyn Bay, North Wales. August 3 – 30.
  • Whitewater Arts Alliance – Four “Midwest Memoir” photographs selected for a juried regional exhibition at the Cultural Arts Center Gallery. Won Second Place and Honorable Mention. Whitewater, Wisconsin. July 5 - 28.
  • Stirling Smith Museum Exhibition – 15 photographs included in the Royal Photographic Society’s Documentary Photography Awards Exhibition. Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. Stirling, Scotland. July 1 - 31.
  • Wright Museum of Art – 66th Annual Juried Exhibition. Beloit, Wisconsin. June 1 – July 21. 
  • Eden Centre Gallery Exhibition – 15 photographs included in the Royal Photographic Society’s Documentary Photography Awards Exhibition. Eden Centre Gallery. Inverness, Scotland. June 1 – 27.
  • The Nunnery Gallery London Exhibition – 15 photographs included in the Royal Photographic Society’s Documentary Photography Awards Exhibition. The Nunnery Gallery. London, England. May 6-20.
  • International Color Awards – 7 awards including Second Place and Honorable Mention. Beverly Hills, California. April 27.
  • International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum – 2024 Black and White Photography Competition Exhibition. St. Louis, Missouri. April 2.
  • Wisconsin Artists Biennial 2024 – Juried exhibition. The Museum of Wisconsin Art. West Bend, Wisconsin. February 3 – April 14.
  • FotoNostrum Magazine Issue #35 – 18 page feature including interview and 20 images. Barcelona, Spain. January 18.
  • The Decisive Moment Magazine – 15 images featured in documentary photography magazine published by the Royal Photographic Society. Bristol, England. January.
  2023
  • Barcelona Exhibition – Series of Pollux Award-winning photographs exhibited at FotoNostrum, the Mediterranean House of Photography. Barcelona, Spain. December 8 – 22.
  • Royal Photographic Society Documentary Photography Awards – Two series of 15 photographs shortlisted for the RPS Documentary Photography Awards and “Midwest Memoir” series named one of nine winners. Bristol, England.
  • 18th Annual Black & White Spider Awards – Five photographs named Honorable Mention Award winners. Windsor, England. 
  • “Brush with Nature” Exhibition – “Dawn at Wawanissee Point” selected for juried exhibition. Steinhauer Trust Aft Gallery UW Arboretum. Madison, Wisconsin. November 1 – December 28.
  • Paris Photo Week“Midwest Memoir” images shown at Galerie 24-b. Paris, France. November 7 – 12.

  • International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum – 2023 Open Photography Competition Exhibition. St. Louis, Missouri. 
  • 20th International Pollux Awards – Honorable Mention in Documentary & Reportage, Culture & Daily Life and People categories for “Stilettos on Steel” series. York, England. 
  • International Photography Awards (IPA) – Honorable Mentions in Professional Book Self Published and Professional People/Traditions/Culture categories. New York, New York. 
  • Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3) – Bronze Award in Book/Monograph - Professional. Paris, France.
  • Royal Photographic Society – Five photographs shortlisted for the 165th Annual International Photography Exhibition. Bristol, England. 
  • Wisconsin’s Great Waters – First Place in “People” category. Featured as month of June in calendar. Madison, Wisconsin. 
  • Whitewater Arts Alliance -- Four photographs selected for a juried regional exhibition at the Cultural Arts Center Gallery. Whitewater, Wisconsin. July 1 - 30.
  • DUMA Biennial “Grandsons” selected for a multi-state juried exhibition at the Dubuque Museum of Art. Dubuque, Iowa. June 17 – October 8. 

  • Wisconsin Visual Artists Exhibition “Parfrey’s Glen” exhibited at SSM Monroe Hospital. Monroe, Wisconsin. May 21 – September.   
  • Edge of Humanity Magazine – Nine photographs featured in international online magazine with more than 100,000 subscribers. 
  • 19th International Pollux Awards – Overall Grand Prize Winner plus First Place Winner in Documentary & Reportage, Culture & Daily Life and People categories. York, England. 

  • Chaeg Magazine – Article and 16 “Forest Fog” photographs featured in Issue # 84 of an international literary magazine. Seoul, South Korea.
  • PhotoMidwest Exhibition – UW Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin. March 4 – April 1.
  • Wisconsin Visual Artists “Perspectives 2023” Exhibition “Father and Daughter” selected for a statewide juried exhibition at the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. March 4 – April 15.

  • Museum of Gloucester –Two photographs included in the Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography Exhibition 163 traveling exhibition. The Museum of Gloucester. Gloucester, England. January 28 – June 4.

2022

  • Lenscratch –Article with 15 photographs featured in newsletter and social media. Los Angeles, California. December 20.
  •  Exposicion Internacional de Fotografia Contemporanea – Midwest Memoir series featured in international group exhibition. FotoNostrum Gallery. Barcelona, Spain. December 9, 2022 – January 15, 2023
  •  LensCulture Black and White Awards“American Midwest Memoir” series named Finalist in international competition. Amsterdam, Netherlands. December 8.
  • Royal Photographic Society“After the Storm” named International Photography Exhibition 163 Visitor Prize Winner. Bristol, England. November.
  • 17th Black and White Spider Awards “The Steamroller” recognized in Portrait Category. Windsor, England. November.
  • Barcelona Foto Biennale – First Place winning “A Day’s Work” series. FotoNostrum -- Mediterranean House of  Photography. Barcelona, Spain. October 13 – 30.
  • PhotoMidwest 12th Biennial Exhibition – Three photographs selected by Juror Aline Smithson. Promega Art Showcase. Fitchburg, Wisconsin. September 21 – December 30.
  • Overture Center for the Arts – Part of three-person exhibition in Gallery II. Madison, Wisconsin. September 20 – November 30.
  • Wisconsin Visual Artist’s “Midwest Seasons” Exhibition – Two photographs selected for juried exhibition. Sauk Prairie River Arts Center Gallery. Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. September 15 – November 18.
  • Wisconsin Visual Artist’s “Mother|Nature” Exhibition – Two photographs selected for juried exhibition. Alverno Art & Cultures Gallery. Averno College. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. September 2 – September 30.
  • Wisconsin Photography 2022 – Two photographs selected by juror John Simmons. Racine Art Museum’s Wustum Museum.  Racine, Wisconsin. August 31 – November 26.
  • U.S. Embassy Luxembourg – two photographs selected by the U.S. Department of State for an ongoing exhibition at the U.S. Embassy. Luxembourg City, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
  • Museum of Wisconsin Art – Solo exhibition at “MOWA on the Lake” main gallery at St. John’s on the Lake. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. June 3 – August 21.
  • Royal Photographic Society “After the Storm” and “Hay Bale” were selected for the 163rd Annual International Photography Exhibition. Works by only 60 photographs were selected from among more than 8,000 images submitted from over 114 countries.  The traveling exhibit opens in the RPS Gallery, Bristol, England. April 16 – August 21.
  • FotoNostrum Magazine – Issue 26 – Eight-page interview and seven photographs featured in the “Best Of” issue. Barcelona, Spain. April. 
  • Wisconsin Visual Artists Magazine – Cover photo plus four-page interview. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. April.
  • Shadow & Light Magazine – Ten “Midwest Memoir” images included as a ten-page Feature Portfolio in Issue 45. Albuquerque, New Mexico. February.
  • LensCulture “Home” Book – Double-page spread with three photographs. Amsterdam, Netherlands. February.
  • Pollux Awards 17 – First Place Winner “Culture & Daily Life” (series). First Place Winner “People” (series). Honorable Mention “Documentary” (series). Kent, England. January.

 2021

  • 6th Biennial of Fine Art & Documentary Photography – First Place Landscape series. FotoNostrum. Barcelona, Spain. 
  • The Street Photography Hub – “After the Storm” on Instagram with 8,371 likes. 
  • Wisconsin Visual Artists “Forward” – UW Hospital. Madison, WI. 
  • Royal Photographic Society – Five Finalists for the 163 Annual International Photography Exhibition. Bristol, England. 
  • LensCulture Home ’21 International Photography Prize – Finalist. Amsterdam, Netherlands. 
  • International Pollux Awards 16 – First Place Landscape. First Place Culture & Daily Life. First Place Documentary & Reportage. Kent, England.
  • Dubuque Museum of Art – Permanent collection. Dubuque, IA. 
  • Belfast Photo Festival – “Highly Commended”. Belfast, Ireland. 
  • International Color Awards – Honorable Mention.
  • Moscow International Foto Awards -- Crimean Republican Universal Scientific Library. Simferopol, Republic of Crimea, Russia. 

 2020

  • Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3) – Honorable Mention for nine images. Paris, France.

  • Pollux Awards 15 – First Place Series in Culture and Daily Life plus two Honorable Mention Series. Kent, England. 
  • Black and White Spider Awards 15 – Two Honorable Mentions. 
  • Moscow International Foto Awards -- International juried exhibition. Photocenter, Moscow, Russia.
  • Wisconsin Photography 2020 – Three images selected for a statewide juried biennial exhibit organized by the Racine Art Museum. Exhibited at the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Art. Racine, WI.
  • San Francisco Bay International Photography Awards – Gold Award and Gallery Award (from  ACCI Gallery in Berkeley, CA) and Portfolio Award. San Francisco, CA.
  • Monochrome Exhibition – Two photographs. PH21 Gallery. Budapest, Hungary.
  • LoosenArt “Home” Exhibition – Two photographs. Millepiani Gallery. Rome, Italy.
  • Moscow International Foto Awards – Named Portfolio Photographer of the Year. Gold for Portfolio Fine Art. Silver for Portfolio Personal. Silver for Portfolio Nature/Trees, Moscow, Russia. 
  • Perspective Gallery – Perspective Gallery. Evanston, IL.
  • Black and White Magazine – Merit Award. Ross, CA. 
  • All About Photo – Portfolio of 20 images. San Diego, CA. 
  • Edge of Humanity Gallery – Portfolio of 10 images. Pompano Beach, FL.
  • FotoNostrum Magazine – Interview and 15 images published in premier issue. Barcelona, Spain.
  • International Color Awards 13 Second Place and Honorable Mention winners. Beverly Hills, CA.
  • “Monochrome” Exhibit – The Blank Wall Gallery. Athens, Greece.
  • Pollux Awards Exhibition – FotoNostrum Mediterranean House of Photography. Barcelona, Spain.
  • Wisconsin Artists Biennial -- Museum of Wisconsin Art. West Bend, WI.
 2019
  • Pollux Awards 14 – First Place Landscape Series. Kent, England. 

  • Budapest International Foto Awards – Honorable Mention for 20-image portfolio. 

  • Black and White Spider Awards 14 – Third Place in Fine Art. 

  •  Photography Gala Awards Exhibition -- Portfolio exhibited at FotoNostrum Gallery, Barcelona, Spain. 

  • San Francisco International Photography Competition – Gold Award. Exhibit at ACCI Gallery. Berkeley, CA. 

  • Royal Photographic Society -- Six Finalists for RPS 162 Exhibition. Bristol, England. 

  • International Photography Awards -- Second Place 10-image portfolio. Los Angeles, CA. 

  • Museum Collection -- Permanent collection of the Dubuque Museum of Art. Dubuque, IA.

  • Critical Mass Finalist -- "Top 200" by Photolucida. Portland, Oregon. 

  • Chania International Photo Festival -- Exhibited in Chania, Crete (Greece). 

  • Southeast Center for Photography – Two images selected for “Home” juried exhibition. Greenville, SC. 

  • "14 Inspiring American Artists" -- Interview and image included in article on inspiring American Artists. 

  • Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3) -- Eight Honorable Mention Awards. Paris, France. 

  • Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA) – Silver Award for Fine Art Landscape Series. 

  • Palm Springs Photo Festival – Finalist -- portfolio of 40 images presented at the Annenberg Theatre. Palm Springs, CA. 

  • DuMA Biennial – Three images. Dubuque Museum of Art. Dubuque, IA. 

  • Pollux 12 Award Winners Exhibition – Four images. Galeria Valid Foto BCN. Barcelona, Spain.  

  • Monochrome Exhibit – Three images. Blank Wall Gallery. Athens, Greece. 

  • Fine Art Photography Awards – Landscape Series (5 images) and People Series (5 images). London, England.

  • International Color Awards – Honorable Mention in Americana. Beverly Hills, CA. 

  • Gallery of Wisconsin Art – Eight photographs in “Image 9” exhibit. West Bend, WI. 

  • Black and White Magazine – “Looking Back – Looking Forward” contest winner. Issue #132.Ross, CA.

  • FOCUS Photo LA – The 28th Annual International Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition. Barker Hangar Gallery. Santa Monica, CA. 

  • One  Eyeland Awards – Series in Fine Art Landscape, Fine Art Other and Nature/Seasons. Chennai, India. 

  • Digital Photo Magazine– Black and White contest winner. Braintree, MA. .

  • Dodho Magazine – Story and 20 photographs. Barcelona, Spain. 

  • Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA) – Bronze Award and USA "Country Pick" for 20-image Fine Art Portfolio. Tokyo, Japan.  

  2018

  • Barcelona Foto Biennale – Named the International Landscape Photographer of the Year -- Space Nau Bostik, Barcelona, Spain. 
  • Lucie Foundation International Photography Awards – Second Place. Los Angeles, CA.
  • Double Vision: Seasons of Change – Lowell Center, Madison, WI. 
  • Rangefinder Magazine Fine Art Photography Winner – Fujifilm Gallery on Fifth Ave. New York, NY. 
  • PhotoMidwest Festival Biennial Exhibition – Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI. 
  • Photolucida Critical Mass 2018 Finalist – Portland, Oregon. 
  • Wisconsin Photography 2018 – Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Art. Racine, WI. 
  • Black and White Magazine – Portfolio Merit Award. Issue 128. 
  • Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3) – Honorable Mention. Paris, France. 
  • Wisconsin’s Great Waters Photography Contest – First Place and May in 2019 Calendar. 
  • “Art in the Heart of RUH” -- RPS Photography Exhibition 160 -- Royal United Hospital. Bath, England. 
  • Portfolio ShowCase 11 Exhibition – The Carnegie Center for Creativity Gallery. Fort Collins, Colorado. 
  • Moscow International Fotography Awards -- Silver Award for Fine Art Portfolio. Moscow, Russia. 
  • Tokyo International Foto Awards Winners Exhibition – ICA Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. 
  • Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition 160 -- Chapel Gallery. Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK. 
  • The Pollux Awards 11 – Grand Prize Winner (overall First Place). Kent, England.  
  • Graine de Photographe Feature – Interview plus 15 images. Paris, France. 
  • International Color Awards 11 – Honor of Distinction (Third Place) in Americana and Wildlife. 
  • Adore Noir Magazine Feature -- 15-page feature story and interview in Issue 42. Vancouver, Canada.
  • The Center for Fine Art Photography Portfolio ShowCase 11 – Fort Collins, CO.
  • Wisconsin Artists Biennial 2018 -- Museum of Wisconsin Art. West Bend, WI.
  • Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition 160 -- Aberystwyth Arts Center in Wales. 
  • "Feature Shoot" Feature – Interview and 14 images. Sydney, Australia. 

2017

  • Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition 160“Forest Fog” was selected as one of only 100 photographs. London, UK. 
  • Moscow International Fotography Awards (MIFA) – First Place and Second Place. Moscow, Russia. 
  • Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3) – Third Place and Honorable Mention. Paris, France. 
  • Friends of Wisconsin State Parks – “Winter Oak” featured in 2018 Calendar.
  • 12th Annual Black and White Spider Awards – Honorable Mention. London, UK. 
  • Lucie International Photography Awards -- Honorable Mention. Los Angeles, CA. 
  • Pollux Awards International Exhibition – Galeria Valid Foto BCN. Barcelona, Spain. September 18 – 29.
  • Photolucida Critical Mass 2017 Finalist – Portland, OR. 
  • Feature Shoot Magazine – Sydney, Australia.
  • Edge of Humanity Magazine – Ten images featured. Pompano Beach, FL.  
  • Best of Photography 2017 – Santa Barbara, CA. 
  • International Color Journal 7 Vol 1 – London, UK. 
  • The WPGA Pollux Awards (10th Annual) – First Place Winner and Honorable Mention. Kent, UK. 
  • Royal Photographic Society – Two Finalists for the 160th Annual International Print Exhibition. Bath, UK. 
  • Soho Photo Gallery 2017 National Competition and Exhibition – New York, New York.   
  • Dubuque Museum of Art 2017 Biennial – Dubuque, IA.    
  • Fluno Center Exhibition – Fluno Center. Madison, WI. May 1 – June 30.
  • Charles Dodgson Black & White Awards – Second Place and Honorable Mention. York, UK.
  • The Print Swap from Feature Shoot – Two images selected. 
  • Mother F Stop – Twenty-five images featured. 
  • 10th Annual International Color Awards -- Honorable Mention. London, UK. 
  • PhotoMidwest Exhibit – UW Hospital. Madison, WI.