About the Photographer
American, b. 1948
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Stu Levy became interested in photography at young age. He pursued it throughout high school and college but turned away from photography as he went on to complete medical school and settle in Portland, Oregon. While praciting as a doctor, he was inspired to begin photographing again after seeing the work of Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter. In 1979 he enrolled in one of Adams's summer workshops in Yosemite National Park and returned in following years as an assistant instructor. Ultimately he set up his own photographic workshops in Oregon, and reduced his medical practice in order to devote more time to photography. Levy's primary focus rests on photographing the natural landscape and in particular areas in Oregon, California, and the American Southwest.
In the 1980s he began a series of what he calls "Grid Portraits" of other artists, such as Walter Chapelle. Using a large-format camera, he takes multiple photographs of the respective subjects in their homes or workspaces and combines contact prints of the images in to a larger composite view of the surrounding environment. The artist typically appears multiple times, as if each grid portrait was showing different aspects of the person or registering the passing of time. Levy states, "These photographs of artists and craftspeople explore and challenge our perceptive process by testing the limits of discontinuity — in both space and time — that our brains will accept in reading an image." Towards this end, Levy typically incorporates a single frame that depicts the photographer himself, introducing a self-referential element, underlining the act of viewing, and emphasizing the constructed nature of the image.