Alan Leder is a fine arts photographer, Chicago born and raised. He has been a practicing artist for over 50 years. Throughout that span, until his retirement, he juggled a full time career as an arts administrator, teacher, and curator while continuing to produce art.
After earning a BFA in painting and his MFA in Film at Chicago's School of the Art Institute, he moved to New York for over a year where he published his first monograph of photos, "The Length". Upon returning to Chicago, Alan co-produced several films about major Chicago artists, including "A Film About Karl Wirsum"(1973)and "Ray Yoshida-The Individuality of the Inanimate Object" (1990).
His career as an arts administrator began as the Visual Arts Director for Chicago’s Dept. of Cultural Affairs (1979-1983), where he curated exhibits at the Cultural Center, directed the City of Chicago’s "Percent for Art" program and co-founded the Chicago Area Film & Video Network, a coalition of local independent filmmakers and video artists.
For three years, (1983-1986), working with his writer/producer wife, he directed and photographed two independent documentaries as well as several corporate and educational films.
In 1986, he became the Visual and Media Arts Director at the Illinois Arts Council (IAC), a position he held for nearly 20 years, supporting Illinois artists and non-profit arts institutions. During those years, he also transported traveling exhibitions to small town exhibit venues throughout the state. He retired In 2009, after serving six years as the Executive Director and curator at the Evanston Art Center, to focus full time on his photo-based art.
Along with his full-time positions, Alan taught painting, filmmaking and film history as an adjunct faculty member at various colleges and universities in the Chicago area, including Columbia College, DuPage College, UIC, Elmhurst University, and Loyola University.
He has curated numerous exhibitions at multiple venues in Chicago and throughout Illinois, most recently, as a curator for the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston, Il.
Alan has exhibited his photography in galleries, universities, and art centers throughout Chicago and the U.S. including several one-person exhibits in Chicago and in Mexico, where much of the inspiration for his photo-based work has originated.
His photography is in numerous public and private collections throughout the U.S. He resides in Evanston with his wife, Jane, a celebrated journalist and author, and Augie, their multi-lingual Maine Coon cat.