Art Fusion: February 23, 2019 Visual Artist: Steven Katzman Singer/Songwriter: Bird Thompson

Art Fusion Image for Art Fusion: February 23, 2019 Visual Artist: Steven Katzman Singer/Songwriter: Bird Thompson

Visual Artist: Steven Katzman

Steven Katzman is a self-taught photographer who has combined, over the years his long-time interest in political science with his photographic journey. Although he does not work from anyone’s theories on the appropriate direction for contemporary art, most of his photographs exemplify the post modernist notion that to be relevant to the final quarter of the 20th century, art needs to be political in nature. Katzman is, however, an artist, not a propagandist. Consequently, his images are not overtly political: the viewer must take time to think about each photograph to arrive at its ultimate message.
Like his forerunners, Jacob Riis, Lewis Hines, and Dorthea Lange, Katzman presents beautifully crafted, matter-of-fact images of his subjects, but his work goes beyond the parameters of photo-journalism. The boxers, prisoners and cremation images deal in subtleties that are ultimately political. In later series he manipulated his subject matter to create metaphors. These photographs can be particularly disturbing, sometimes shocking. But Katzman’s goal is never to merely shock, rather, he wants the viewer to think about the image and answer these specific questions in his or her mind: Who is the person in the photograph? What is (or was, in the case of the death images) their life like? How do you feel about the issues being raised?
Katzman has already asked these questions of himself. He arrived at his answers through the direct experience of being up close and personal with his subject no matter how emotionally difficult it was for him. Through photography, Katzman attempts to share his experiences with the viewer.
In 1991, Katzman received a $35,000 corporate grant from Eastman Kodak Professional Photography Division; Reflections of the Spirit, a personal odyssey of a young boy struggling to become a man through the vehicle of boxing. In addition, he has received corporate grants from Ilford, Polaroid, LexJet., and bogen Imaging He has exhibited nationally and internationally and is in numerous museum and corporate collections, and recently had a portfolio of his work purchased by the George Eastman House International Center of Photography.
Katzman’s first book, The Face of Forgiveness Salvation and Redemption was published by powerHouse Books, spring, 2005 and received an award of merit from New York City Art Directors Club. Katzman recently received funding to document Newtown, an African American community in Sarasota, Florida, and PBS produced a documentary of this project. He is a Lexar Elite Photographer, X-rite Coloratti, and sponsored by Wacom, nik, Eizo, and Adobe. He is an adjunct faculty member at Ringling College of Art and Design. Katzman is also a Contributing Editor for Rangefinder and Aftercapture Magazines where he writes his personal column; Tales from the Ripster. He commutes between his two homes in Santa Fe, NM and Sarasota, Florida with his wife Sharon, and their Shar Pei, Miles, Lakeland Terrier, Calie., and two rescue dogs, Jazmin, an Alaskan Husky and Taxi Mundo, a Wirehaired Terrier.

Singer/Songwriter: Bird Thompson  

Bird began writing songs & practicing Buddhism about the same time 44 years ago; the pursuits have grown more & more together over time.  He writes thought-provoking songs in a variety of styles, having a BA in English poetry & a love of all kinds of music.

"Now Here This", his first album, was made in 2007 & his newest, "Prayer Wheel", this year.  Both CDs feature local musicians such as Chris Ishee, Ben Wright & Karina Wilson. Bird is now working on a long piece with lyrics by Walt Whitman & playing Friday brunch at the New Baking Company.  He has also written a book, "Extreme Times--Diary of an Eco-Buddhist."