Photographer MJ Sharp is an artist and educator based in Durham, North Carolina. A Tennessee native, she came to Duke University as an undergraduate ready to major in chemistry, but one art history survey course derailed her into the humanities and left her with a lifelong love of art history, which conveniently, continues to be pertinent to the study of contemporary photography.

She worked closely with writers and reporters on both short and longform journalism stories as the staff photographer and photography editor at the Independent in Durham for most of the 1990’s.  During much of that time she also freelanced regionally for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, PBS’s Frontline, The Columbia Journalism Review, and The Ford Foundation, among others. She went on to earn her Master of Fine Arts degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2007 and was subsequently a visiting lecturer at area universities.

She is currently a Lecturing Fellow at The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Nasher Museum of Art, and is Vice President of the Duke Faculty Union. Her artwork is included in the collections of The Akron Art Museum, The Asheville Museum of Art, The North Carolina Museum of Art, The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, The Ackland Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Henry-Copeland Art Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and The Cassilhaus Collection.



  MJ Sharp

P.O. Box 3061
Durham, NC, 27715 USA



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Some images on this site are available as editioned C-prints (wet color darkroom prints) or metal prints. Depending on collection rotation, they are sometimes on view at the institutions named above. Usually there are samples on view at Craven Allen Gallery in Durham (where one can also visit with the friendly resident gallery dogs!).


A behind-the-scenes look at one evening's shoot


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Articles, videos, and reviews (see full show archive here)


Faculty unionizing article in the Washington Post, February 2019


Artist conversations video from opening reception of Eureka!


Blue Greenberg: Collecting for Love, Not Speculation, review of Medici Schmedici: Demystifying the Artist/Collector Bond, Craven Allen Gallery, 2015


Durham Photographer MJ Sharp Embraces the Uncertainty, Matt Goad, News & Observer, February, 2015


PhotoVision probes 175 years of photographic developments and anxieties, review of PhotoVision: Selections from a Decade of Collecting, Brian Howe, Indyweek, September, 2014


Two Centuries in Five Rooms, Chris Vitiello's review of Light Sensitive at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, 2013


MJ Sharp: The Night Had Become My Habitat, a short film by Emma Gilmore-Cronin & Debbie Ripley, 2012


Profile in Duke Magazine by Bridget Booher , 2011


2011/2012 Light Cache show at Craven Allen Gallery in the news

Independent Weekly

Duke Chronicle

Daylight Magazine


Southern Photography

Durham Herald Sun


Visions of Night  / interview (in French)


The Yumi Show at Cassilhaus Gallery / Cassilhaus fundraiser for the CSA Scotland project


La Nuit, No.9  / interview (in French and English)