Mike and Doug Starn were born in New Jersey in 1961. At present, they live and work in New York. Beginning in the 1980s, they began to challenge categorization, working with photography in combination with sculpture, painting, video, and installations. Their most recent work is entitled Big Bambù (2008), a monumental bamboo structure made by combining different creative and design skills in a single installation. The large-scale work (15 meters high) was made possible with the help of a group of climbers who built the structure, whose size, like a living organism, grows in spring and shrinks in autumn. The installation is a work in progress that adapts to the exhibition space and the season, growing and developing with the passage of time.
The Starns have been received arts grants (1987 and 1995) and the Infinity Award for Fine Art Photography (1992). In the 1990s, they received an artistic commission from NASA. Their principal works are found in such private and public collections as those of the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco; The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne; and La Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.