The Visual Order of Space



Born in Winnipeg “under a vast prairie sky”, Michael Levin has long observed how the world around us can be abstracted into its simplest forms, seen only for its essential elements. Levin is a master minimalist and has a keen appreciation for the visual order evident under all the chaos and clutter our lives get caught up in. His ability to strip away all superfluous elements to focus attention on moments of pure beauty is astonishing. In doing so, Levin has become an important visionary in the world of fine art photography with many awards and other accolades to his credit. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Michael on several projects and his passion for seeing the detailed beauty in the world remains vital to his life.  

 “Levin’s spare arrangements and structured tonal composition point the work in the direction of minimalism but the air of emotion and mood that holds to each scene suggests more expressive possibilities. While Levin avers a spiritual dimension to his work, he allows for the revelation that comes from seeing in a particular way. The photographs are less about knowing a place than discovering a self.  With each photograph, Levin is learning to express himself, to use the language of the image to tell a more trenchant story of how he sees when he is out in the world looking for more.”  – Barry Dumka 



The Visual Order of Space

The lure in a Michael Levin photograph is simplicity but its logic comes from a more complex awareness of space. What Levin does best is to find common objects and make them compelling as an image.  Unlike some photographers who apply thematic rules to their choice of subjects or weight the work with conceptual ideas, Levin puts himself out there more freely, riffing on the unexpected possibilities in found locations and objects.  He is not trying to prove a theory but rather tell the story of his experience in a clear, precise language.  And he instinctually understands the visual order of space.

In his photographic work, Levin has the unique advantage of years practicing the flamenco guitar, including studying in Spain. It’s an unlikely but useful training ground for teaching an artist to interpret a scene.   By learning about the colour and cadence of sound, Levin knew better when to strike a note that would add to the emotion of the flamenco dance.  A camera is an instrument of interpretation no less than a guitar and Levin has learned to play both well.

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