(born September 13, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York City) is an American photographer who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Witkin was born to a Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother. He has a twin brother, Jerome Witkin, who also plays a significant role in the art world for his realistic paintings. He also has a son named Kersen Witkin who is a talented painter in his own right. Witkin's parents divorced when Witkin was young because they were unable to transcend their religious differences. He attended grammar school at Saint Cecelia's in Brooklyn and went on to Grover Cleveland High School. He worked as a war photographer between 1961 and 1964 during the Vietnam war. In 1967, he decided to work as a freelance photographer and became City Walls Inc. official photographer. Later, he attended Cooper Union in New York where he studied sculpture and became Bachelor of Arts in 1974. After the Columbia University granted him a scholarship, he ended his studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he became Master of Fine Arts.
Joel-Peter Witkin, Counting Lessons in Purgatory, 1982
Joel-Peter Witkin, Nude with Mask, 1988