Robert Stivers is an American fine-art photographer. His work is collected by museums from New York to Paris and Cologne and shown in galleries worldwide. Best known for his captivating images and darkroom technique, The New Yorker describes his work as “Ghostly black-and-white images whose theatricality smartly complements their mystery.”
Trend Magazine describes Stivers’ work as “darkly romantic images infused with a certain mystery that have made him one of our foremost contemporary photographers.” He works with gelatin silver and platinum prints to create his unique images. Since he began shooting in 1987, he has used Hasselblad medium-format cameras to capture his captivating photographs.
In 1993 Stivers stepped away from printing clear photographs and began his unique signature process of using a sharply focused negative that is then manipulated in the darkroom to create intriguing, out-of-focus, blurry images. This effect causes intentional loss of clarity to achieve sensual, dream-like works akin to early Pictorialism at the turn of the twentieth century.
Stivers remarks that the photographs mirror his own process of self-transformation and re-creation. His distorting power reinvigorates classical tropes like nudes, sculpture, texture and architecture.
The Art of Ruin by Robert Stivers
In his latest book, photographer Robert Stivers shows the difficulty of communication. Language, both spoken and visual, vies with the hard-won wisdom of age, the misunderstandings of youth, and the subtle art of reading between the lines.
Robert Stivers’ photographs have entered such collections as those of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museumin Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Stivers’ work is also collected by some notable Hollywood names such as Ellen DeGeneres, Charlize Theron, Olivia Wilde and Donna Karan, to name a few.
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