Brief Bio

A Brief Bio : Steven D Foster

Steven D. Foster
3906 Chatham Lane
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Brief  Bio

Steven D. Foster has exhibited his photography in major museums and galleries nationally for over forty years, including a retrospective exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Please visit his two photography websites:  THE DEPARTING LANDSCAPE which includes projects created between the mind-1960’s and 2011, and THE SACRED ART PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECTS which is dedicated to the exploration of the sacred in Foster’s more recent work, from 2011 to the present.

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 able to study with some the great master teachers and photographers in the history of photography including: Minor White, 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, when on to be the founder of the Visual Studies Workshop.
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, as of 2016 Foster continues to be actively engaged in his own creative process as a picture maker, which his two photography websites make quite clear.
After living and teaching photography in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for 33 years Foster and his wife Gloria moved to Canandaigua, NY in 2008.  He was briefly represented by the Spectrum Gallery in Rochester, NY, and presented a  Solo Exhibition of his work at the gallery in 2012.  While living in Milwaukee for 33 years, Foster was represented by the Michael H Lord Gallery in Milwaukee and the Carol Ehlers Gallery in Chicago.  His work was exhibited regularly at these galleries in two-year intervals.  Visit Foster’s  Resume

Foster has created three major bodies of work inspired by the music and writings of Morton Feldman: The Departing Landscape Project  a poetic contemplation on Man’s alienation from Nature, and the decay of the natural world.  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 Fosters learned that the Finger Lakes area was being threatened by the an 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 had come to love in NY State, Foster and his wife Gloria became very active in the NY state anti-fracking movement; and one of his contributions to the movement included the creation of a website http://notohydrofracking.blogspot.com/  Foster considered the website a relevant 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 created a series of related photography projects The Hydrofracking Suite.
Also 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 related creative photography projects over the following two years which is collected in the project titled “An Imaginary Book”.  This project initiated an ongoing and continuing series of projects which explore the idea of sacred art in contemporary art practice.  “An Imaginary Book” and all the sacred art projects that followed can be seen in his website: THE SACRED ART PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECTS

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 thesis 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.  He thinks of his creative process in photographic picture-making as a form of meditation in action.