The Human Fragment, photographs by Michael Ernest Sweet

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The Human Fragment
photographs by
Michael Ernest Sweet

Foreword by Michael Musto

Pub Date: December 15, 2013
138 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936767-24-3

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Michael Ernest Sweet’s photos are not sweet at all—they are rich and investigative, with a unique voice that speaks of presence, mystery, and selectivity—a highly personal vision.

Jay Maisel

Like a modern-day Weegee, Michael Ernest Sweet proves conclusively that photography is not quite yet a lost art. Utilizing composition, texture, and depth of field to capture his public and frankly open subjects, his work makes you long for a time when photographers were valued for their style and eye.

Bruce LaBruce

Great shots from the other side of the street…revealing authentic timeless moments. Michael Ernest Sweet’s images transform ordinary reality into the unforgettable.

Roger Ballen

Michael’s Coney Island work proves that he is no foreigner to the place. The work has an authenticity that is obvious—a real feel for the people who inhabit the beach and the boardwalk. I was born on Coney Island and have photographed there for 65 years, and although I thought I “owned” Coney Island, I happily concede a share of it to Michael. It’s obvious that he loves the place—and that’s the qualifier!

Harold Feinstein

Michael Ernest Sweet is the person that gets the closest to Bruce Gilden and yet still retains his very own style!

Max Motel

The name of the photographer, Michael Sweet, is ironic. His images are anything but that. They are often frightening, mesmerizing images from our everyday lives—slices of humanity that we would perhaps prefer not to see from such a cruel, close-up vantage point. They are perhaps photographs of ourselves. In stark black and white Mr. Sweet makes us focus on scenes that are pregnant with meaning if we but pause, confronted by his photographs. He takes us out of our comfort zone and presents us with images that are painful to view but too important to ignore.

Jean-Jacques Dicker

Rob Nunn, UK Photographer & Host

Jerry Portwood,

“In his stunning first full-length book, The Human Fragment, [Michael Ernest Sweet] captures the Felliniesque and the ominous in the city’s streets and beaches.” 


Interview, Angela Ashman, The Village Voice

“TVV: . . .That’s what’s so fascinating about this collection. It seems like you’re quickly figuring out the precise detail that defines each person and zeroing in on that, like a woman’s fur coat and matching bag, or the squeegee boy’s squeegee.

MES:Exactly. And those things tell me more about that person as an anonymous person, because we don’t know these people, right? If you wanted to take a snapshot of your friend, you wouldn’t necessarily take the photo in this way. But when we’re taking pictures of people as objects for art, the face really doesn’t tell us much of anything. And when you get right down to it, most people’s faces kind of look alike. There’s a lot more personality and individualism in the way people assemble the rest of themselves.”

To read the full interview, click through the link provided above.


Review, Grady Harp, Amazon

“Sweet goes for fragments of what he sees, those little moments of reality we often skip over because they may just disturb our busy psyche if we dwell long enough to discover the complete form from which they are extracted. Depending on the education of the eye of the viewer these fragments can either seduce or plead for further information. And that is how a true artist – poet (Sweet is most assuredly a visual poet), painter, sculptor, photographer – sees and brings to the viewer the essence of being a part of humanity.” 


Interview, The Leica Camera Blog

“LCB: There is a non-judgmental quality to your images and you don’t seem to have a social, political or aesthetic agenda. What do you think is the fundamental thing that defines your art and sets it apart and how would you define the nature of your artistic quest?

MES:I’m a naturally anxious person and I think that comes through in my work, especially here in this stuff.I’m running around trying to capture this little bit and that little bit. That restlessness, both physical and mental, I think shines through.I’m not the first nervous person behind a camera certainly, but I think that a lot of work today speaks of a certain time commitment which is not present in my work. . . . So much of the photography we see today is so polished or it’s just not interesting – a picture of a cat – and so when something edgy and sort of haphazard like this comes along and retains an interesting quality I think it stands out.”

To read the full interview, click through the link provided above.


Feature, The Hant’s Journal

“A self-taught photographer hailing from Martock is challenging preconceived notions of photography and beauty.” 


Interview, Kai Berhmann, Top Photography Films

“KB: What reaction do you intend to provoke in people looking at your pictures?

MES: I want people to see that there is more to observe in our world than merely people’s faces. This is not what primarily makes up a person’s personality, their nature or, rather, this is not their primary way of showing themselves to the world. Personalities leak out of everywhere, clothing, hats, glasses, jewelry etc. It’s all important. I want people to look at these bits, to zero in on the human fragment as it were.”

To read the full interview, click through the link provided above.


Review, Alex Coghe, Alex Coghe Blog

“[I]n the street . . . you should be able to capture a story, possibly fed by tension. In Michael Ernest Sweet work I find this tension, through imperfect fragments, human body parts, a snapshot of the unsaid and the question mark that stimulates the creativity of those who look at the pictures. . . . This book is a vivid story of a real and urban wonderland, not just a photographic book. . . .  It is the merit of a photographer who goes beyond the usual, beyond the simple documentation of what he encounters on the street.”


Feature, No Thoughts Magazine

Michael Ernest Sweet on his work: “I’m beginning a project with the new Japanese Harinezumi 4.0 camera and people ask me why I would want to use a cheap toy camera. Easy. Because everyone is using a Leica M and making terrifically high definition pictures of their cats. I want to be different. I’m going to make grainy pixelated pictures of my cat. I’m not a slave to gear.” 


Feature, Street Photographer Blog

“[Sweet] uses the Ricoh GR Digital most of the time. His work is somewhat unique as he uses a 28mm and works very close to people. He also has a haphazard framing style and often [his] work features people with missing heads or arms of whatever. He focuses on random bits of people – the human fragment.” 


Feature: Street Photography Magazine

Available via download for Iphone and/or Ipad.


Michael-Ernest-Sweet-The-Human-FragmentMichael Ernest Sweet is a Canadian educator, writer, and street photographer. His work has been widely published in such magazines as Popular Photography, Black & White Magazine, and the Leica Camera Blog, among others. Michael is a recipient of both a Prime Minister’s Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in Canada for significant contributions to his country in the fields of education and the arts. He divides his time between Montreal and New York City.

Photo by Tristan A Brand

michael-musto-michael-ernest-sweetMichael Musto writes the weekly “Next Question with Michael Musto” feature for, as well as the “Musto! The Musical!” entertainment column for He’s written four books, including his latest collection, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back. Musto is a TV commentator on all things cultural, and has just been inducted into Next magazine’s Nightlife Hall of Fame.

© Photo by EJ Camp