Lewis Steven Silverman
As a journalist for more than 30 years, I plead guilty in the past to contributing to the numbing cacophony of video images and sounds, which ricochet around us each day. This, more than anything else, has been my motivation to fully embrace the still image. And, it drives the methodology behind my work in black-and-white photography, which I describe as “counter-culture”. In that I mean, my photographs are the opposite of the frenzy of non-stop images that bombard and desensitize us through the mass media.
I approach my art with the axiom that photography should say something about life. And, my need to capture those reflective moments by people in the act of living, sometimes this involves sadness, joy, irony or reverence. I also find that the subjects of many of my photographs are young and old people, at times, celebrating beginnings and struggling with endings.
These simple and spontaneously composed, pictures offer a “pause” or respite in our lives, one that allows us to truly see with the eye, feel with the heart, and remember with the mind’s eye. And, hopefully, appreciate what we are and what’s around us.
Without question, the photographer who has most shaped the prism by which I look at the world is André Kertész. I was lucky enough to “discover” Kertész’s masterful mirror, on life’s serendipitous moments, when I first picked up a camera 20 years ago.
I learned my technical craft at Parsons School of Design – Paris, under the tutelage of Ben Fernandez, and sharpened it further at The Camera Club of New York, which is an artistic collective started by Alfred Stieglitz in 1897. I use a venerable, Nikon FE-2 manual camera, with a 35 mm-to-70 mm Nikkor lens (f3.5). The 35mm camera not only affords me mobility, but the relatively short focal distance also forces me to get close to my subjects, heightening the intimacy between subject and viewer.
In addition to always scouting my hometown of New York, I regularly return to France, Italy, and Latin America to shoot on the streets and in the countryside. I’ve been lucky enough to have photographed on four continents, but continue to look for new places and people to capture in my lens.
Lewis Steven Silverman, a NYC resident, earned his BA in English at Alfred University and participated in the special graduate program at Oxford University in 1969. He is a print and television journalist and the former managing producer for the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. A student of Ben Fernandez at Parsons School of Design – Paris, Silverman is a member of the Camera Club of New York, Photo Cooperative at Soho Photo Gallery, and a member of the Westside Arts Coalition. Group and solo exhibitions of his work those at Parsons School of Design, Biblioteque Nationale, Cork Gallery at Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center, Soho Photo Gallery, and Lowenherz Gallery at the Alfred Stieglitz Camera Club of NY.