11/26/10

Steven D. Foster - A Brief Bio

revised January, 2017

Contact Information


Steven D. Foster

3906 Chatham Lane
Canandaigua, NY 14424
sf@uwm.edu
 
Brief  Bio


Steven D. Foster has exhibited his photography in major museums and galleries nationally for over forty years, including a 7 year mid-career retrospective exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.  His photography website, The Departing Landscape contains his complete online collection of photography projects dating back to the mid-1960's and it includes his most recent completed works.


At the age of ten Foster had an  epiphany in which he intuitively recognized that his life's work would be dedicated to photography.  He went on to study photography as a fine art at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Institute of Design, IIT, Chicago, and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.  He was fortunate in being able to study with some the great master teachers and photographers in the history of photography including: Minor White, Nathan Lyons, Beaumont Newhall, Van Deren Coke, Ray Metzker, Aaron Siskind, Wynn Bullock and Fredrick Sommer.  While studying at RIT Foster studied two years with Nathan Lyons in his year long home workshops.  Lyons, who at the time was Director of Exhibitions at George Eastman House, would soon found the Visual Studies Workshops.


Foster taught photography as a fine art at Georgia State University-Atlanta (1972-75) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1975-2007), where he created both the undergraduate and graduate sub-majors in photography.  While living and teaching in Milwaukee Foster exhibited his work regularly at the Michael H Lord Gallery, Milwaukee, and the Carol Ehlers Gallery, Chicago.


After living and teaching photography in Milwaukee, Wi. for 33 years Foster retired from teaching in 2007.  He and his wife Gloria moved to Canandaigua, NY. in 2008.  He was briefly represented by Spectrum Gallery, in Rochester, NY where he mounted a solo exhibition in 2012.  Shortly after that, however, Foster realized the best forum for his work was his Departing Landscape website.  He prefers the intimacy of the dialogue he feels he attains with his viewers through his online projects.

Foster as created major bodies of work inspired by music by American composers Morton Feldman, Charles Ives and William Bolcom, and jazz composers Thelonius Monk and Steve Lacy.  Click here for an overview of his music inspired projects.  

In 2011 Foster traveled to Turkey with his wife where he encountered for the first time the sacred art traditions of Islam.  Foster's experiences in Turkey generated an outpouring of creative photography projects over the following two years which are collected under the title: "An Imaginary Book".  This project initiated an ongoing and continuing series of projects which explore the idea of sacred art in contemporary art practice, and most particularly, his own.  

Since the late 1960's Foster has been interested in the spiritual in art: he read Kandinsky's well known book and considered photographers Alfred Stieglitz and Minor White two of his early mentors.  He read several books by Coomaraswamy, Mercia Eliade and Joseph Campbell before entering graduate school (1969-72) where, to fulfill his MFA written requirement he prepared a 110 page research paper on the relationship of Carl Jung's ideas about depth psychology to his creative process in photography, focusing on Jung's studies on medieval alchemy and his theory of synchronicity.  


In 1987 Foster began practicing Siddha Yoga Meditation.  His yogic practices have influenced his work in many ways.  He thinks of his creative process in photography as a form of meditation in action.  See his project Photography and Yoga.  Since his travels to Turkey and "An Imaginary Book"  Foster has created a large series of Sacred Art Photography Projects.


Foster's  Resume


Radio Interview with Tish Pearlman "Out of Bounds"  the interview aired February 16, 2012


A Personal History of Photography - An Illustrated Chronology


Collected Writings


Welcome Page  to The Departing Landscape website which includes the complete hyperlinked listing of my online photography projects dating back to the 1960's, my resume, contact information, and more.


.