Artistic Statement

Photography has been my liberation. Throughout my life as a student and as a professional I've had to labor within the codified disciplines of my endeavors. Making photographs freed me from many constraints and allowed me to express the vision, thought, imagination and dreams that endowed my life with individual purpose.

I have never had any interest in making copies of the empirical world around me. Indeed, everything I have done has been a struggle for interpretation, not duplication. Art, for me, has always had the function not of mimicking nature, but offering an alternative view. I seldom strive for objectivity, which is rarely achieved and almost always overrated.

My pictures are my intellectual autobiography, products of my eyes' mind. They are at least as much an explanation of how I see as a record of what I have seen. Two-thirds of the body's sense receptors are concentrated about the eyes. This vastly disproportional sensual imbalance has profound consequences for the ways in which we perceive, learn, think, express and behave. Pictures are, and always have been, an important language.

Like all vital languages, image making goes through change. The perception that contemporary digital photography is a threat to photography's classical style is based upon an unjustified fear. New photography, new aesthetics and new technology add immensely to the repertoire, giving us freedom to look, learn and admire from constantly renewed and more flexible viewpoints. Photographers may well learn from musicians, who know that innovative musical forms have not diminished the classics, but have given us new perspectives from which to admire them.

Wherever my eyes, my mind and my camera go, my self goes too. I love variety. Look at my pictures. Look at MY pictures.


Raphael Shevelev is a California based fine art photographer, digital artist and writer on photography and the creative process. He is known for the wide and experimental range of his art, and an aesthetic that emphasizes strong design, metaphor and story. His photographic images can be seen and purchased at

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