Steven D. Foster
Steven D. Foster has exhibited his photography in major museums and galleries nationally for over forty years, including a seven-year retrospective exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Please visit his The Departing Landscape Website.
After living and teaching photography in Milwaukee, Wi. for 33 years he and his wife Gloria moved to Canandaigua, NY (in 2008) which is in New York's beautiful Finger Lakes area. Foster's work is represented by the Spectrum Gallery in Rochester, NY; Bill Edwards, Director. His first Solo Exhibition at Spectrum Gallery, a mini-retrospective, ran from January 6-February 25, 2012.
Since 1999 Foster has created three major bodies of work inspired by the music and writings of Morton Feldman, the most recent (begun in 2007 and ongoing) is entitled The Departing Landscape Project a poetic contemplation on Man's alienation from Nature, and the decay of the natural world. It consists of several related individual projects. The other two projects are entitled the Triadic Memories Project 2003-07 which consists of eight related bodies of work, and The Garage Series, 1999-2001.
In 2011 the Foster traveled to Turkey 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 all available at this one link: "An Imaginary Book" : The Complete Collection of Projects.
Also in 2011 the Fosters learned that the Finger Lakes area was being threatened to be devastated by the aggressive, very toxic method of horizontal natural gas drilling known as hydrofraking. In an attempt to inform others about hydrofracking and to help protect the land he has come to love in NY State Foster and his wife Gloria have been very active in the anti-fracking movement and has has created this website http://notohydrofracking.blogspot.com/
Foster considers the website an important new addition to his larger project entitled The Departing Landscape, and as a result of his work with the anti-hydrofracking movement in New York he has created series of related photography projects The Hydrofracking Suite.
At the age of ten Foster had an epiphany in which he realized he was going to be a photographer. 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, with master teachers and photographers Minor White, Beaumont Newhall, Van Deren Coke, Ray Metzker, Aaron Siskind, Wynn Bullock and Fredrick Sommer. He took two home workshops with Nathan Lyons, founder of the Visual Studies Workshop, in Rochester, NY in 1964-65 and 1965-66. At the time of the workshops Lyons was Director of Exhibitions at George Eastman House.
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. Though now retired from teaching, Foster is actively engaged in his own creative process as a picture maker, and has joined his wife in some social activist work to protect the natural environment. A complete survey of his work is available at his website TheDepartingLandscape.blogspot.com
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 synchronicity . Since 1987 Foster has been practicing Siddha Yoga Meditation and his study of the yogic scriptures have been ongoing. In 2011 his trip to Turkey lead him to the study of Islamic sacred art and sacred knowledge which has resonated deeply for him in relation his yogic studies. Islam's use of abstract imagery in its sacred art has been seen as an affirmation to his long term fascination with abstract imagery in his photographic practice. He viewed his trip to Turkey as an example of synchronicity in that the trip awakened in him, again and in a new way, after his retirement of five years from teaching and exhibiting, the same inner impulse that began his career in photography at the age of ten years when he experienced a life transforming epiphany.
Published biographical article
Radio Interview with Tish Pearlman "Out of Bounds" the interview aired February 16, 2012
Steven D. Foster - A Personal History of Photography - An Illustrated Chronology
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