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.
Jane Alden Stevens is a fine art photographer inspired by history at every level — personal, familial, cultural, and global. Her photographic narratives examine and interpret the relationship between humans and the world they create for themselves. Her artistic practice draws on her inherent thirst for reading and research, studying aspects of psychology, sociology, art, religion, music, economics, agriculture, politics, and geography.
Stevens embraces all aspects of traditional and digital photographic technologies, choosing the technique that best suits the visual project at hand. She has created imagery with cameras ranging from a 19th-century Al-Vista panoramic camera to a state-of-the-art Nikon DSLR, as well as a Hasselblad medium-format camera and a handmade pinhole camera. Her printing techniques have included cyanotypes, printing on light-sensitive fabric, gelatin silver prints, and digital pigment prints. All prints are produced in Stevens’s studio, with the sole exception of pigment prints measuring larger than 21” on the short side, which are created in a professional fine art printing lab in collaboration with the artist.
Solo exhibitions of Stevens’s work have been mounted at the Dayton Art Institute, ARC Gallery in Chicago, and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Stevens has exhibited extensively abroad, in Finland, Ukraine, Belgium, Germany, and Brazil. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Museu da Imagem e do Som in São Paulo, Brazil, among many others.
Stevens was born in Rochester, NY, and spent many years living and working in Germany. She has lived and worked in the Cincinnati, Ohio area for over 35 years.