MacAllaster House

Amanda Means


Amanda Means (1945- ) is an American artist best known for her black and white “photogram” work, wherein she creates sublime images by using a unique darkroom process — placing objects on the glass in an enlarger, without utilizing a camera or traditional negatives. The objects that Means manipulates range from natural ones, such as flowers and leaves, to more material objects, like light-sensitive silver gelatin paper, lightbulbs, or glasses of water. Her technique, which takes advantage of the light from the enlarger moving through her subjects, creates a sort of glowing, ephemeral, abstraction of the ordinary. “She explores how the mysterious presence of natural forces can be found in the most unexpected places.” 

Born in Marion, New York, in 1945, Means grew up in a small farming community, and spent a substantial portion of her childhood surrounded by woods and the natural objects that would inspire her for years to come. She received the Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University in 1969, moved to New York City in 1976, and received the Master of Fine Arts in photography from SUNY Buffalo in 1978. Many of her photograms made during this time were in response to her experience of the contrast between urban and rural lifestyles. After 35 years in the city, she moved to Beacon, NY, where she continues her work as an activist in the climate change movement.  

Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and remains in numerous collections. She has shown her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, England, among others. In 2017, Means was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her photography. 

– Research and writing by Eva Yeo, SLU Class of 2023



“Bio.” AMANDA MEANS. Accessed February 21, 2023.  

“Awards.” AMANDA MEANS. Accessed February 21, 2023.