Words and Photos by Olivia Bauso
Last Saturday we took a trip to the George Eastman Museum for a private tour of the exhibition David Levinthal: War, Myth, Desire. Led by curator Lisa Hostetler, students learned how photographer David Levinthal uses small figures and toys to explore the explore the fantasies, myths, events and characters that shape contemporary America.
With the use of photography, Levinthal animates his small toys, sometimes to the point of artificially created movement. On his use of toys, Levinthal says, “Toys are intriguing, and I want to see what I can do with them... On a deeper level, they represent one way that society socializes its young.” David Levinthal: War, Myth, Desire is the first museum retrospective of the artist’s work in more than twenty years. The exhibition includes nearly 200 prints, along with related books and ephemera.
After learning about Levinthal's process and inspirations, students were able to learn from historic process specialist Nick Brandreth and shoot their own scenes! Using newly learned tips about scale, lighting, framing and designing a scene, students played with their cameras to create their own Levinthal-esque photos.
Students played with several scenes curated by the museum and added fabrics and miniature figures of their own. There was a sense of comradery in the room as students held flashlights, reflectors and props for each other to ensure everyone got the perfect shot.
Levinthal's exhibit will be on display at the George Eastman Museum through January 1, 2019. See the museum's website for future events.