Born in 1962 in New York City, where he is still based, Accra Shepp has exhibited in the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia. His work is in a variety of collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and The Victoria and Albert Museum. A senior Fulbright Fellow, he has received a number of awards and residencies, the latest from Art Matters in 2014. His work has appeared in print in The New York Times, View Camera Magazine, and a new book edited by Brian Wallis titled, The Order of Things(Steidl 2015).
His concerns center on our relationship with the natural environment and how this resonates through all of our interactions. From 2003 – 2007 he traveled to three farms in Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina to create the Tobacco Project. In this body of work, he explores the relationship of tobacco farmers with their crop and the land on which it grows, as well as the relationships between family members and the social classes of farm owner and worker.
Since 2008, Accra has been documenting the coastlines of the five boroughs of New York City, with the intention of visiting all of its forty islands with his large format camera. Shepp takes numerous views on site documenting the maritime nature of these zones where underbrush meets concrete and water. In the studio, the resulting 4” x 5” color film negative sheets are digitally scanned, edited and merged together into panoramic images that are printed by the artist as archival ink jet prints.
Accra graduated from Princeton University in 1984, where he studied with Emmet Gowin. Additionally, he has a Master’s from NYU where he studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and the Conservation Center. Over the years he has taught at a number of schools, including Princeton, Columbia University, Wellelsey College, The Rhode Island School of Design, and Sarah Lawrence. In 2014, he was a visiting artist at Bowdoin College.