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Joel-Peter Witkin

Joel-Peter WitkinBorn: 13-Sep-1939
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Other
Occupation: Photographer

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Photographer of the macabre

Military service: Army Photographer (1961-4)

Photographer of intricately-conceived scenes. Famous works include "Woman breast feeding an eel" (1979), "Las Meniñas" (1987, parody of the Diego Velázquez painting), "Cupid and Centaur" (1992), and "Beauty has Three Nipples" (1998).

"It happened on a Sunday when my mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I was no longer holding my mother's hand. At the place where I stood at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it -- but before I could touch it someone carried me away."

Father: (Jewish, div., murdered)
Mother: (Roman Catholic, div.)
Wife: Cynthia (tattoo artist; m. 1978)
Son: Kirsten-Ahanu Witkin

    High School: Grover Cleveland High School, Ridgewood, NY
    University: BFA, Cooper Union School of Art, New York
    Scholar: Poetry fellowship, Columbia University
    University: MFA Photography, University of New Mexico (1986)

    Jewish Ancestry

Author of books:
The Bone House (1998, photography, Twin Palms Press)



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