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Photographer With Show Biz Background Uses Insight For Creativity
James Levine is a professional photographer in New York with a fiair for creativity in the show biz world.
From an early age, James has had a love affair with both music and photography. While he is in demand for celebrity portraiture from actors, politicians, and socialites, you can see his deep connection with musicians come alive in his photos. “Actors make careers out of portraying characters and are used to being in front of the camera constantly. Musicians expose their feelings through their songs. I love to capture that raw emotion and bring it out in the visual medium of film."
The two art forms are truly in his blood. His mother is Grammy-award winning Broadway composer Lucy Simon and his aunt is rock legend Carly Simon. His uncle Peter Simon is one of the more known photographers of reggae and rock artists in the country. Growing up, James was surrounded by artists and drew in many influences. As a child, he learned to play blues piano from the New Orleans icon Dr. John. "Dr. John is the essence of everything I love most about music. When I hear him I am transported. Getting the chance to photograph him recently was one of most inspiring experiences I've had as an artist."
While he loved the idea of becoming a professional musician, photography was his primary passion. “Ever since I was seven, I have had a Nikon camera around my neck,” he laughs. He studied at the International Center for Photography (ICP) and then attended the University of Wisconsin, where he received his B.A. in Communications. Much of his experience as a master lens smith came from paying his dues as an assistant to well-known professional photographers, including Ken Regan of Time magazine and fashion icon, Richard Avedon.
From 1997 to 1999 James lived in Israel, where he worked for The Jerusalem Press taking human interest and lifestyle photos. Since returning to the U.S., James has gained a revered reputation as a photographer of weddings, events, and individual portraits. His growing portfolio includes photos of Chris Rock, Mariah Carey, Paul Newman, Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Lee, G.E. Smith, Kevin Bacon, Dr. John, Carly Simon, and James Taylor.
James’ commercial photography has regularly appeared on the pages of People, Martha Stewart Weddings, In Style, The New York Times and The London Times. His photos are also seen widely on websites including: NBC.com, CNN.com, and America Online.
Although James resides in Nyack, NY with his family, he does travel for destination weddings, events and commercial shoots.