CATCHING THE TYPHOON
WIND STUDIES BY ETHAN LEVITAS
Japan has become a second home to New York photographer Ethan Levitas. During an autumn trip through the mountains known as the Japanese Alps on the main island of Honshu, he was surprised by a typhoon. The wind blew through the bamboo and, in the artist’s eyes, stirred them to life. The author sees these images, made in this moment of intensity, as an expression of enlivened nature. They are actually images of the wind; the trees are only the conspicuous messengers revealing the powers of the spirits of nature.
In his wind studies, Levitas tries to transmit the primary elements of Japanese philosophy and beliefs of Shinto religion. Nature is holy, and each of her elements and objects has a spiritual essence, or kami. The wind’s kami, which is called fujin, is of great importance in daily life, in agriculture, and in fishing. A harmonious relationship with nature and her spirits forms the basis of well-being. Levitas often confronts this conviction – and the many profound rituals concerning the invocation and mollification of the power of the wind – in Japan’s rural areas.
Ethan Levitas very consciously chose black-and-white photography in order to create clear, graphic, and above all balanced images of meaningful phenomena. His works express a universal harmony and dynamic in finely tuned gray tones. His photos have been collected and exhibited around the world, be it in London’s National Portrait Gallery or at Rencontres d’Arles Photographie, one of the world’s most renowned photography festivals.
Ethan Levitas was born in New York where he grew up and also attended Cornell University. He lived and taught in Japan and was awarded a stipend from the Aaron Siskind Foundation in 2005. Ethan Levitas’s portraits are regularly commissioned by New Yorker magazine.
Aaron Siskind Foundation
NYFA Artist's Fellowship
International Photography Award for Fine Art
PDN Photo Annual Award
Multi-year project grant from Japan-United States Friendship Commission and Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership
|2009||The Jewish Museum New York acquires a selection of works.|
|2008||Polka Galerie, Paris, France|
|FLAG...for which it stands, Galerie Thierry Marlat, Paris, France|
|Les Rencontres d'Arles Photographie, Grande Halle, Arles, France|
|Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City, New York Public Library, USA|
|2007||National Portrait Gallery, London, UK|
|Collector Sammler Howard Stein acquires 25 large scale works for his permanent collection. With worldwide institutional exhibitions, his JGS Foundation opens them to public.|
|Site Matters: Brooklyn Represents Dumbo, Brooklyn Arts Council, USA|
|The New York Public Library acquires a large scale selection of his work series "Untitled/This is just to say".|
|2006||Angkor Photography Festival, Cambodia|
|IPA Best of Show, Photo San Francisco|
|Foto Festival Internazionale di Roma, Italy|
|Palm Springs Photo Festival, Lucie Awards/IPA|