HOMAGE TO PINE STREET: the art of neighborhood
NICK LEVITIN PHOTOGRAPHY
OPENING RECEPTION: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th, 2018, 3-6pm
ARTIST TALK: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14th, 2018, 3pm
The idea for this exhibit came out of a conversation Mary and I had almost a year ago. She described her fierce devotion to the neighborhood and the role an art gallery could play in the life of a community. She passionately believes that a neighborhood can be as much an artistic endeavor as a painting, a piece of sculpture, or a photograph. We wanted this project to give the people of Pine Street a chance to walk into 73 See Gallery and see themselves anew – as vibrant artistic creators of a community. Over a year has passed since our initial conversation and the photographs on exhibit, taken during the past twelve months, reflect the diversity and creativity of the people who live and/or frequent this street, as well as the role that Mary and 73 See Gallery has had on this neighborhood. It is as the title suggests, A Homage to Pine Street: the art of neighborhood.
I was drawn to photography as a young boy. I grew up in the fifties in a house without a television. The movies, then, had a particularly powerful impact on me. The images captured my imagination. In addition, I was very fortunate in that my mother was an Art Director for Time Inc., publishers of Life Magazine. At the time, it was one of the premiere photo magazines on the stands, with photos taken by the finest photographers in the world.
Each week, I would thumb through the magazine and get to know those photographers and their work. The images and the thoughts behind the images stayed with me and to a degree have informed my work to this day. The idea embraced by the editors of the magazine was that photos could be much more than merely illustrative, they could tell a story. Mary and I wanted to tell the story of Pine Street and the Gallery through photography.
When we look at a photograph, we are either captivated by it, or we simply go on to look at the next one. What is it that makes us stop and take one in? The photographer and author, David duChemin, suggests it is that the photograph, a good photograph, has a soul. There is life in the photo, and in some way, that life connects with us.
I have been a photographer for most of my life. Recently I decided to shift my focus from headshots,
corporate portraiture and event photography to more personal work and to return to black and white
photography. It wasn’t until several years ago, that I found myself yearning for something that was missing in my photographs. What was missing was the mystery of black and white. In his book “The Little Book of Contemplative Photography,” Howard Zehr Documentsays, “Black-and-white images represent a kind of abstraction. Without the realism of color, we often are encouraged to see things that we might not otherwise notice. Patterns, textures, shapes, and visual movements that we easily miss in color often are revealed more clearly in black and white.”
I bring to my work a sense of the theatrical moment, often with a focus on solitude, moments of contemplation, and a yearning for connection.
It has been an extraordinary experience working with Mary on this project. She has inspired the whole neighborhood with her vision of an art gallery as an artistic vehicle for social change. I have learned much from her and look forward to continuing to learn even more.
To Mary and the people of Pine Street, my deepest thanks. You have inspired me with your profound sense of community and the desire to have your community be a contribution to all who come in contact with it.