As a teenager vacationing on the East Coast, I found myself one day gazing out the window. Within my view I saw sand dunes, beach grass waving gently in the breeze, and the gray Atlantic Ocean ebbing and flowing in the distance. It was sundown, and the sky glowed with a subtle blend of blues and pinks. Seagulls were calling; the air smelled like wild roses and salt and seaweed. Without thinking, I reached for my ever-present camera, ready to record that magical moment. Then I paused… and slowly put the camera down.
It dawned on me that no photograph could replicate the experience of being in that place at that very moment. This realization caused me to reconsider what I photographed and how, and it continues to influence my approach to the medium to this day.
Today, Jane Alden Stevens is a highly respected photographic artist and educator. She won Individual Artist grants from the Ohio Arts Council in 1990 and 2002. Solo exhibitions of her work have been mounted at the ARC Gallery in Chicago, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, NY, and the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Gallery. She has exhibited extensively abroad, including in Finland, Ukraine, Belgium, Germany, and Brazil. Stevens’ photographs are included in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Museu da Imagem e do Som in São Paulo, Brazil. She is Professor Emerita of Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati.