Lisa Levine


The Swim series is about the inherent beauty I find in the rather mundane experience of swimming. Water becomes the medium through which figures, each with their own particular body language, find an unencumbered personal grace as the water suspends and releases them from the pull of gravity. I find a beautiful choreography emerging from these figures who partake in a vernacular kind of dance. Each person’s body responds to the freedom of weightlessness in the water environment in a unique way.

When working with the imagery in the digital darkroom I look for patterns of movement and rhythms that speak about how the subjects, who become my dancers, can relate to each other in the overall choreography of the scene. I construct specific patterns of movement across the space of the photograph in much the same way a choreographer patterns the movements of the dancers. I’m interested in how each dancer’s movements lead into, compliment, contrast, and punctuate the movements of the other. The waterscape of the work forces a separation between individuals and at the same time, through implied lines of movement, creates connection and a sense of individuals working in consort within the larger structure of the dance.

The works are constructed using the rectangular picture plane or the grid as a point of departure. Within the confines of this rigid geometry I look for the organic rhythms of the water and the dancers to emerge. I enjoy working within this contradictory space where unyielding structure and fluidity are poised against each other; where the tension between separation and connection reflect the essential language of the dance itself.


Lisa Levine holds a BFA in Photography from School of Visual Arts in New York and an MFA in Photography from Brooklyn College. Her work is in the permanent collections of Kala in Berkeley, the San Francisco Public Utility Commission, Alameda County Art Commission, and the City of Atlanta. She has been featured in San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose News, Photo Review Magazine, and Tempo Magazine in New Mexico, among others.