Steven H Brown

Steven H Brown

Monett , MO, United States

About Steven H Brown

I have had a love of photography for almost my entire life. At the age of twelve I discovered my first camera store when my mother took me with her on a shopping trip to a nearby city. My mother had a passion for antique furniture and we were visiting a favorite store. I had noticed going into the shop that a few doors down was a camera store, I was immediately intrigued. I asked my mother if I could go in and look around. My mother was a very gracious woman who would always encourage me in any interest that I had, so of course she said yes.
That was the beginning of my journey with photography. Soon after that first visit my parents bought me an inexpensive camera and I started to capture images of the world around me and have continued to this day. My images, even in the early days, were different than other photographers. I have always had a fascination for how the camera makes the world look different and ways that this can be emphasized.

When I am at a location capturing images, it is like I am having a conversation with the work. The first few exposures that I make guide me towards making more purposeful images while I move in closer or adjust my position to the subject in one way or another. This refining process is like artistic exploration, visual problem solving, discovering the hidden richness that hides from us in plain sight for which we are too busy to see.

I started what might be called my photographic career on the high school newspaper, photographing sporting events and musical competitions. As an undergraduate student in college I studied photography and related courses, but it wasn’t until I went to graduate school at The Savannah College of Art and Design that I became aware of the many possibilities that photography could achieve artistically. I earned my Master of Fine Arts degree there, which enabled me to acquire a teaching position at the Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri in 2015. I currently teach three photography classes at the university as an adjunct.

The images I produce are taken in various locales and situations. I capture images that are both urban and rural, of the natural as well as the man-made world. This work at it’s most basic is about seeing the world in a way that everything is relevant, everything is interesting and there is potential for beauty everywhere. Photography has become fractured by the overwhelming choices available in our society and the ability of anyone to possess a camera of some kind. There are so many styles, as well as non styles, within the realm of photographic image making that it is hard to follow any kind of trend. This inundation of varying image styles lead to my realization that all subject matter can be equal if treated in a certain way. If the gaze of the camera is captured in such a way as to make connections between otherwise dispirit subjects, imposing the same style on everything, a visual democracy can emerge where everything is worthy of attention. Trees and buildings, treated so that both can become an abstraction of the environment we live in, become part of the same aesthetic.
Alfred Stieglitz once produced a series of images of clouds which he called “equivalents”. These were images which reduced a natural form to an abstraction, which took a familiar object (a cloud) and through the way it was photographed and how the film was developed and printed turned the familiar into something else, a work of art.
This is the goal of my work, to take the idea behind Stieglitz’s “equivalents” and apply it to every interesting item that I come across in my photographic life. This is my democratization of vision.

Education

MFA from Savannah College of Art & Design

Exhibitions

10/2019 Solo Show, Third Coast, Lenexa, KS
09/2019 B&W Group Show, Driscoll Gallery, SBU
10/2018 Art In Our City, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO
06/2018 Members Show, Springfield Regional Arts Council
02/2017 Solo Show, Soffia Via, Overland Park, KS
12/2016 Group Show, SRAC, Springfield, MO
11/2016 Solo Show, Driscoll Gallery, SBU
09/2016 Faculty Show, Driscoll Gallery, SBU
09/2015 Faculty Show, Driscoll Gallery, SBU
04/2014 Members Show, Springfield Regional Arts Council
03/2014 Metamorphosis, group show, SRAC, Springfield, MO