I am a retired Reform rabbi. For over forty years my life was spent immersed with words. I read. I wrote. I spoke. (Occasionally I listened.) But all along I increasingly became aware that — to paraphrase Peter Sellers in the movie "Being There" — I liked to look. And the joy I derive in taking pictures has now became a passion.
Photography is a relatively new thing for me. In 2017, in anticipation of retirement, I made a conscious decision to explore the camera as a conduit of self-discovery. I always liked cameras. And I come from a family that has been taking and saving photographs since the mid-19th century. But it really wasn't until the advent of social media, and specifically Facebook, that I came to appreciate that photography was something I did fairly well. So often I would post pictures from my vacations and people would go out of their way to tell me I had a good "eye."
Even more, however, it was only when I started to do photography seriously that I realized I had a deep need to be creative. And while for most of my adult life I exercised my creative instincts with words, and particularly through textual interpretation, when I took a camera in hand I came to recognize that I had harbored a life-long affection for the visual.
Photography is not a new career for me. I'm retired. But it is, for certain, a coming out. And I hope that some of the things I see you will see as well.
My photographs have been accepted in Jersey City's "Cathedral Arts Festival," Studio Montclair's "State of the Art" exhibition, and the annual Photography Exhibition of the Belmar Arts Council, where I have been the recipient of the "Merit Award in Black and White Photography" (2019) and the "Merit Award in Photojournalism" (2020). Additionally, I have had images purchased for commercial usage in places as distant as Scotland.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, I shot a series of images of businesses which have been shuttered both before and as a consequence of the Coronavirus. You may see the pictures on this website as well as on Steve Bennett's Pandemic Lens blog. (Click here to see a trailer made by Steve Bennett featuring one of my images: "Abandoned.") I have also published several of the photographs in a book entitled "Suburban Decay" which is available for purchase.
I shoot mirrorless digital cameras, using the Leica Q2, the Sony a7iii and the Fujifilm x100f.
Steven Kushner | October 2020
Upper Photo: Jonathan Woll