Ethan Rafal

Ethan Rafal 1983

Lives in San Francisco & Oslo. Works in San Francisco & Oslo.

Ethan Rafal is an artist and photographer based in San Francisco and Oslo. He has toured extensively in Europe and the United States with his previous photo series and artist’s book ‘Shock and Awe’, a twelve-year autobiographical project examining the relationships between prolonged war and homeland decay. ‘The Evening Pink’ marks his first solo exhibition in The Netherlands. Rafal produces his work in a materials-driven process. Climatic processes become part of the image from film capture to print. 4×5” and 8×10” films have been exposed to rain, hail and harsh light, or are otherwise affected by the decay of the canvas and wooden view camera. Rafal often shoots after dark so that the film grain reveals a proclivity toward red. Particularly the deep shadows reveal an organized and organic feedback. After film capture, images are rendered through pigment transfer printing. A blend of printmaking and analog photographic processes, Rafal creates pigment-based negatives/positives before transferring them using his own chemistry. Therefore, no image can ever be exactly reproduced.

Market position


The Evening Pink — expository film exploring the historical, material, and theoretical underpinnings of the wider project, and an introduction to the forthcoming book.


Born: 1983, New Jersey. Lives and works in San Francisco, CA, and Oslo, Norway Education 2007 Reed College, BA Art Practice, with concentration in Art History, Anthropology, and Political Science. Published Thesis. Awards & Fellowships 2019 FFF, Oslo Bok Festival 2020, selected to curate the Oslo Photo Book Festival ‘20 2018 SECA Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (pending) 2018 TOSA Award, Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco (nomination) 2017 Paul Huf Award, FOAM Museum, Amsterdam (nomination) 2016 Miss Read Beauty Award: Miss Read Art Book Fair, Akademie der Kunste, Berlin 2012 Kickstarter Project of the Day (for Shock and Awe) Solo Exhibitions 2018 The Evening Pink — Part Three + The End, Gospel Flat Farmstand; Bolinas, CA The Evening Pink — selections + The End, Z Space; San Francisco, CA 2017 Mickey — book performance + film installation, Losaeter; Oslo, Norway 2016 The Evening Pink — Part Two + Mickey, Gospel Flat Farmstand; Bolinas, CA 2015 The Evening Pink — Part One, Gospel Flat Farmstand; Bolinas, CA 2006 Children of the Night, Culture Project; NYC, NY Dreams of Darfur, Feldenheimer Gallery; Portland, OR 2005 Children of the Night, Feldenheimer Gallery; Portland, OR Two-Person Exhibitions 2018 West, Galerie Kenilworth; Milwaukee, WI 2015 Teenage Smokers 2 + Shock and Awe, (w/ Ed Templeton), Arcana; Los Angeles, CA 2015 Printed Matter presents The Family Acid & Shock and Awe, Paris Photo, LA, CA Group Exhibitions 2017 Museum of Capitalism (w/ Art for a Democratic Society A4DS); Oakland, CA Inverness Almanac, Gallery Route One; Pt Reyes, CA ABBA, Herberger Institute for Design and Art, Arizona State University; Phoenix, AZ AWAKE: 10x10 Photobooks, Ithaca College; Ithaca, New York 10x10 Reading Room, Magnum Foundation; NYC, New York AWAKE Reading Room, Carnegie Museum of Art; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania AWAKE Reading Room, Mass. College of Art & Design; Boston, Massachusetts 2016 Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market, LAND w/ Rob Pruitt, Los Angeles, CA Miss Read, Akademie der Künste, Berlin Cosmos, Rencontres des Arles; Arles, France Polycopies, Paris Photo; Paris, France 2014 SoapBox, curated by Steven Wolf and Boots Riley, Berkeley Art Center; Berkeley, CA Social In Practice Archive Project, Yerba Buena Contemporary Art; San Francisco, CA 2012 Transient States, San Francisco Camerawork; San Francisco, CA Review Santa Fe, CENTER; Santa Fe, NM 2011 The Cries of San Francisco, Southern Exposure; San Francisco, CA Cashing Out, KALA; Berkeley, CA 2010 Remastering the Anthology of American Folk Music, California College of the Arts; San Francisco, CA Public Collections United States: Art Institute of Chicago, Flaxman Artist Book Collection; Chicago, IL Augustana College; Sioux Falls, SD Baylor University, Central Libraries, Artist Book Collection; Waco, TX. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; Berkeley, CA (Mickey) Brooklyn Museum of Art; New York, NY University of California, Environmental Design Library; Berkeley, CA UCLA, Art Library, Special Collections; Los Angeles, CA University of California Santa Cruz, McHenry Library, Special Collections; Santa Cruz, CA Cleveland Museum of Art; Cleveland, OH Duke University, Perkins Library, Special Collections; Durham, NC Emory University; Atlanta, GA University of Houston; Houston, TX Indy Photobook Library; Washington, D.C. Macalester College; Minneapolis, MN Midway Contemporary, Minneapolis, MN University of Minnesota, Special Collections; Minneapolis, MN Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Houston, TX (Shock and Awe and The Evening Pink) University of New Mexico - Zimmerman Library; Albuquerque, NM New Orleans Museum of Art; New Orleans, LA University of Puget Sound, Collins Library, Special Collections; Tacoma, WA University of North Carolina, Sloane Library Special Collections; Chapel Hill, NC University of North Carolina; Greensboro, NC Reed College Library - Special Collections; Portland, OR San Francisco Art Institute; San Francisco, CA San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA Scripps College, Denison Library, Special Collections; Claremont, CA Sheldon Museum; Lincoln, NB Stanford University, Green Library, Special Collections; Stanford, CA University of Utah, Marriott Library, Special Collections; Salt Lake City, UT Virginia Commonwealth University - Special Collections; Richmond, VA University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Special Collections; Milwaukee, WI Europe: The University of Central Lancashire; Preston, United Kingdom Coventry University; Coventry, United Kingdom Den Frie; Copenhagen, Denmark ESOD; Amiens, France Saxon State and University Library, Dresden, Germany Kaunas Gallery; Kaunas, Lithuania KHiO, Oslo National Academy of the Arts; Oslo, Norway Library Project; Dublin, Ireland Linnaeus University; Kalmar and Växjö, Sweden Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU); Trondheim, Norway Reykjavik City Library / Borgarbókasafn Reykjavíkur; Reykjavik, Iceland SciencesPo; Paris, France Unge Kunstneres Samfund (UKS!); Oslo, Norway Publications 2018 The Evening Pink, Artists’ Edition of 500 books 2017 Crusade for your Audience, Jennifer Yoffy Schwartz, interview in book 2017 Mickey, Artists’ Edition of 100 books 2016 Inverness Almanac #4 2015 Shock and Awe, Artists’ Edition of 1000 books 2007 Experiments with Media, Kehrer Verlag, undergraduate thesis, republished 2006 The Tragedy of Darfur, feature for Rolling Stone Bibliography + Radio + Films 2017 Dina Takruri, Ethan Rafal and his Grandma Freda, Al Jazeera San Francisco Public Library, Shock and Awe Performance, (film) Eliza Gregory, Photography as Social Practice (interview re: touring) 2016 Congratulations Pine Tree, podcast feature NPR West Coast Live, “Ethan Rafal and Lia Rose Live,” NPR MTV, Ghosts and Images ESAD, Conférence: Shock and Awe, Amiens, France Ann Jastrab, Ethan Rafal: Shock and Awe, All About Photo 2015 Marcy Held, “Interview with Ethan Rafal," WRCT, Pittsburgh, PA Lizzy Brooks, Bibli-Agora at The Farmstand, Curiously Direct Joshua Willey, Shock and Awe: Review, Word Riot 2014 East Bay Express, Soapbox 2006 The Story, The Accidental Journalist, American Public Media (1-hour feature) The Daily Record, Interview with Ethan Rafal, New Jersey Democracy Now, American College Student in Darfur 2005 Reed College Magazine, Seeing the World