The Michael Aaron Gallagher Fine Art Collection includes five signed prints by photographer Russell Levin and four, one-of-a-kind Polaroid pictures taken in 2018 and 2019. With decades of experience in fine art photography as the owner of The Russell Levin Gallery in Monterey, California, you can immediately see the influence of several master photographers in his work.
Born in 1954, Russell Levin began his journey into photography as a boy in the 1960s. From snapping shots at bull fights in Mexico to working for his school’s newspaper, his talent soon opened up doors for his work to be published in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury newspapers. He would later go on to open his own camera shop in California, which eventually evolved into the art gallery he runs today.
In an interview for Apollo Magazine, photographer Dayanita Singh once said, “If I could describe a photograph entirely in words, why bother making it?” Indeed, the best photographers have a certain indescribable quality to their images that makes them come to life, inviting the viewer to linger.
Russell Levin’s body of work contains everything from the visually mesmerizing to the dramatic and sensuous. His pictures are vibrant and varied across a broad range of subjects. With a keen eye for composition, lighting and movement, he demonstrates his longtime study of the craft, showcasing his unique creative vision, while bringing a visual energy to the medium. Though they are still frames, they capture the imagination, inviting a sense of suspense for what the next moment holds — the moment after the picture was taken. Whether it is a flock of birds gloriously taking flight as a woman runs on a beach (“Erin Running with the Gulls,” 2013) or his revealing look at an artist at work in a foggy landscape (“Brett Weston, Summer of 1992”), it is especially difficult to choose one favorite photo over his others.
The first black and white print by Levin added to The Collection was a 10”x10” portrait titled, “Elizabeth in Studio” (2002). It was generously gifted by the photographer in 2021. Another one of Levin’s photographs of the same model was featured in the book “Unclad” from The Don Sanders Collection.
The Collection also includes two vintage portraits of model Tatiana, a small 5”x6” black and white portrait and an 11”x14” print. Her alluring beauty and her sensual stare make her one of Levin’s best models.
Another prime example of Levin’s ability to put his subject at ease to achieve a natural pose that leads to a perfect portrait, his photograph of a young girl in Costa Rica (at the top of the page) would not have happened, if not for a chance encounter. The photographer recently told the story behind this spontaneous picture, which was added to The Collection in 2022, on his Instagram page.
“I was in a cab going through a residential area of San Jose and this girl who was playing in front of her home with her friends caught my eye,” he wrote. “I had Francisco my driver stop, find her parents and asked permission to photograph her. Next thing I know she hopped up on the back of her dad’s car and striked this pose for about a second or two. Her friends started to tease her and she jumped off. A year later, I went back and gifted the family this image along with another of her with her friends.”
For more information about Russell Levin’s work and to view current prints for sale at The Russell Levin Gallery visit: https://russlevin.com/