Photographer Steven Herrnstadt is currently a full professor at Iowa State University with the awarded title of University Professor in the Department of Industrial Design in the College of Design. He says his most important title, though, is the one he gave himself 28 years ago: “resident mammal.”
Herrnstadt has been photographing for well over 40 years. Before earning his MFA from the University of Iowa, he worked briefly in a drug crisis center in Albuquerque, NM, was a lathe operator and a finish carpenter. In addition to his current post at ISU, he has served as associate chair of Art and Design. His photography, intaglios, steel/mixed media and synthetic imagery are represented in collections across the country. His work has been featured in over 60 national/international shows and papers.
Herrnstadt emphasizes that “Photography is not simply visual. When fully taken advantage of, photography or any form of Art or Design is a way to really experience the world and its contents to the fullest, with all the senses and with total empathy towards all objects animate or not. It is a meditative state of being in the moment. There is no past. There is no future. Only now. The photograph is residue, an artifact, of the earlier experience.”
Herrnstadt says that “The only things differentiating Homo sapiens from the other species on this Earth are the fine arts, whoopee cushions and automatic weapons. And after 40-plus years of observation, I often wonder if it’s only the latter.”