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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Stu Levy

Dates:  1948 -
Born:  US, OH, Cincinnati
Active:  US
American contemporary photographer.

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I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1948. I was always fascinated with my parents' simple camera, and always wanted to be the person taking our family photos. When I was in the 6th grade, a friend had a darkroom and I saw prints developed for the first time which was a magical experience for me. The same year, I convinced my uncle, who had two Rolleicord cameras, to give me one. By the 10th grade I had become our school's newspaper photographer, and soon started photographing for the school yearbook. I also became it's photo editor and designer. I was a street photographer in those days, and also photographed rock and roll musicians, both in performance, and for publicity photos.
My photography continued throughout college, during which time I was also involved with the school's yearbook. Photographing musicians remained an active pursuit.
After college I went to Medical School for 4 years, followed by a 3 year residency for which I moved west to Portland, Oregon. I didn't have time to photograph during those years, but got involved in back-packing in the mountains of Colorado and California. At about the same time (the mid-70's) I saw the work of Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter. Ansel's work made me appreciate the craft of the fine print, and Eliot's work gave me an appreciation for the natural world which was rapidly being developed and to a large extent destroyed.
In 1979 I took a workshop from Ansel Adams in Yosemite, and for the next few years I returned to Yosemite or Carmel to be an assistant instructor at Ansel's workshops for a week every summer. This introduced me to the concept of Photography as Art, and to the world of photographic artists. I soon began meeting with a group of former Minor White students, and was strongly attracted to the abstract and mystical imagery possible in black and white photography.
With another photographer, I started the Portland Photographic Workshops, teaching on the Oregon Coast, and co-taught with several other photographers in California and Arizona.
In the early 1980's I reduced my medical practice to half-time so I would have more time to devote to photography; I have continued this to the present.
My favorite areas to photograph include the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon-Washington border; the Southwest United States near the 4 corners area of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado; the northern California coast; the big island of Hawaii; and I have recently become very visually excited by what I've seen on two trips to Prague and Budapest - I hope to return there to photograph more.
In the mid 1980's I also started making Grid-Portraits, an assemblage of photographs scanning a person's living space or work-space, made with the 4x5 camera (which is what I use for all my other work), and showing several aspects of the same person. I usually appear in these portraits also.
Grid portraits
Perception involves the visual synthesis of incremental spaces at finite points of time. These photographs of artists and craftspeople explore and challenge our perceptive processes by testing the limits of discontinuity, in both space and time, which our brains will accept in reading an image. Often included in the imagery is the photographer as voyeur and the material artifacts involved in making the photograph, including a Polaroid image of the finished portrait as a compositional element within the image. This self-referential element further emphasizes the act of perceiving, and in addition attests to the collaborative relationship between the photographer, his subject and the objects in their environments.
This work gives a new meaning to “The Decisive Moment”, for the lattice-window view presents a maze of scrambled time and recombinant architecture.  
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