Photographic Commissions: Visual Culture
Academic profile: The Cooper Union


Esther M. Choi is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York City, whose work spans across photography, video, and publishing projects. With a background in photography and architectural history/theory, her artistic projects and writing explore the impact of image making and world-making technologies on our understanding of nature. Much of Choi's artistic work involves examining the historical and philosophical assumptions that have shaped genres such as landscape and still life. She is presently focusing on a new body of work that examines the relationship between photography and petroleum-based plastics.

In 2019, Choi published Le Corbuffet (Prestel), a conceptual art project in the form of a cookbook that explored ideas about cultural consumption by subverting the commercial conventions of food photography. The book was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for Photography in 2020.

Choi's commissioned still life photography has been featured in publications such as T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Dazed and Confused, Le Monde, AnOther Magazine, AnOther Man, Elle Decor, Vice, and The New York Times Magazine. Her images for T Magazine were nominated for an ASME National Magazine Award in 2024.

Choi is the creator of several socially engaged projects that aim to increase the representation of minoritized artists and designers. These include Office Hours (2020–), a free knowledge-sharing series by and for BIPOC creative practitioners worldwide, and Public Service (2023-), a web series about catalyzing change in the culture industries and beyond.

Choi's writing has been published in Harvard Design Magazine, Perspecta, The Journal of Architectural Education, Artforum, e-flux, DEEM, PIN-UP, and Art Papers, as well as edited volumes and exhibition catalogs. She co-edited (with Marrikka Trotter) Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (MIT Press, 2010) and Architecture Is All Over (Columbia Books, 2017).

Choi holds a joint Ph.D. in Architectural History and Interdisciplinary Humanities from Princeton University, an MDes in Architectural History/ Theory from Harvard University, an MFA in Photography from Concordia University, and a BFA in Photography from Toronto Metropolitan University. In 2022, she was a Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art. She served as an Assistant Professor of Photography and Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University from 2008–16 and has been an Adjunct Associate Professor at The Cooper Union since 2016.

Choi's work has been recognized and supported by various organizations, including the Ford Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada, Richard Rogers Fellowship, MillerKnoll Foundation, The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Princeton University, Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Society of Architectural Historians.