I’m B Jane Levine and I live in the northeast of the United States. I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, a short bus ride from New York City. I trained as a biochemist to be an observer and a practitioner of a rigorous scientific practice. I left research behind in order to give more attention to the needs of my family and after a few years and some personal hardships, I took an interest in photography and began taking classes at International Center of Photography, ICP. My creative mind has always been inspired and nourished through the storytelling in the visual arts. I embraced photography as a means of creative expression. I honed my photographic vision during many photography trips around the world.
Currently, my photographic project is a series of portraits and street scenes of strangers captured on the streets of New York. I walk, observe, and photograph people, following the path of light as it moves around the city. I use the light, color and composition to frame a subject in a found setting. I attempt to capture authentic moments when my subject is unaware of my presence. A busy street corner is a great space to stop for a while and observe and make images as a scene evolves. Sometimes I get caught and a subject will give me that nod of recognition at the moment of the shot or after I press the shutter. I often go out with no expectations of subject matter other than looking for a moment, which elicits some emotion that I respond to with the subject/s, it is mainly driven by an internal signal that connects me to the subject or situation. The people in my photographs all project a characteristic, gesture, or physical trait that I identify as part of my own story. This ongoing series is a composite of pieces of my life—a self-portrait.
Photography has become an integral part of my life. For many years I photographed for concentrated periods of time when I traveled to new places around the world. I retired about 6 years ago and now I photograph multiple days a week on my walks around the city. The limitations on my travel has focused all my photographic energy on the streets outside my door. I rarely leave home without a camera.
In the last few years, I have devoted many hours to walking the streets of New York City, observing the light and the people and making photographs of the scenes of everyday life. I follow the light as it moves around the city from street to street. I feel part of this dynamic, changing city though I remain isolated on my own path. I continuously experiment with ways to capture this energy in a still photograph. The simple pleasure of observing both mundane and exquisitely exotic moments feeds my continual desire to explore neighborhoods and places that are outside my everyday experiences.
I approach the street with the same curiosity that has guided my life’s journey to understand both myself and the world around me. I am always looking for moments that either intrigue my sense of place or remind me of internal moments which I find to be familiar yet confusingly unknown to me. Oftentimes the candid images that I make on the streets are reminders of parts of my life that are locked away within my mind, or those which were simply forgotten. My quest to find new ways of seeing and making successful images requires persistence, trust and fearlessness to reveal my inner emotions. It is usually about a connection between what is happening in the moment on the street and something within my memory; reminders of my own flawed humanity.