Photographic Commissions: Visual Culture
Academic profile: The Cooper Union


Esther Choi is a New York-based multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes photography, video, publishing, and writing. With a background in photography and architectural history/theory, she is primarily interested in the relationship between concepts of nature and modern worldmaking technologies. Currently, her research focuses on photography's historical, material, and philosophical relationship to plastic, petromodernity, and petro-aesthetics. Her work draws inspiration from art and architectural history, environmental history, feminist science and technology studies, postcolonial studies, and the material histories of photography.

An aspect of Choi's practice involves socially engaged projects as forms of institutional critique that seek to increase representation for artists and designers who identify as identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. These include Office Hours (2020–), a free radical pedagogy series, and Public Service (2023-), a web series about catalyzing change in the culture industries.

Her Fluxus-inspired conceptual cookbook, Le Corbuffet (Prestel, 2019), was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in Photography in 2020.

Choi's commissioned photography, primarily rooted in narrative still life, has 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.

Choi's writing has appeared in various publications, including Harvard Design Magazine, Perspecta (forthcoming), The Journal of Architectural Education, Artforum, e-flux, DEEM, PIN-UP, and Art Papers, in addition to edited volumes and exhibition catalogs. She co-edited Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (MIT Press, 2010) and Architecture Is All Over (Columbia U, 2017).

Choi holds a joint Ph.D. in Architectural History and Interdisciplinary Humanities from Princeton University, an MDes in Architectural History 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 was an Assistant Professor of Photography and Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University from 2008–16 and has taught at The Cooper Union since 2016.

Her work has received support from The Ford Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada, Richard Rogers Fellowship, Herman Miller Cares, The Graham Foundation, Princeton University, Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Society of Architectural Historians.