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Objects & Equations
Stephen Crowley

May 25 - July 30, 2010

Stephen Crowley

"I am convinced that the less the photographer imposes his ego on the moment, the more powerful the result is likely to be. It means patience and watchfulness and a willingness to stand back and wait to catch the truth on the fly and finally edit for the best of it.” Barbara Villet


Objects & Equations features five separate bodies of work drawn from Stephen Crowley's extensive professional and personal photographic explorations. Crowley's descriptions are below:

Urban Archaeology
The detritus of human existence reveals itself in code like Egyptian hieroglyphics embedded in the asphalt of our cities. A dropped earring, a lost key, the clipped chain link of a bicycle lost to a thief. Bits and pieces of a fender bender or a broken charm play out as farce whose short life ends after the issuance of the city bond to be spent on road improvement. Within their fragments a context emerges.

If I Were Your King
Portraits of Democratic heroes — Kennedy, Roosevelt, Truman, Obama — festoon the offices, hallways and ballroom of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington DC. Politicians past, present and future vie for the honor, even to join company with Adlai Stevenson, whose visage hangs in a coat closet.

Stephen Crowley
Adlei Stephenson, 1998

Voices of Afghanistan
The story of Afghanistan is like Job’s, except God has not yet appeared in the whirlwind to explain the suffering and set things right. This is a land where war has put time out of joint, where people live in ruins resembling archaeological sites, using the tools of centuries gone by. The tools; hand-hewn wooden plows furrow the earth, hand-shaped clay ovens baking bread, create the beautiful necessities that make life bearable.

      Stephen Crowley
  Using a homemade box camera, rented from a street photographer in Jalalabad, Afghanistan New York Times reporter Tim Weiner, our translator, Majeed Babar, and I stopped passers-by at random; street urchins, ragpickers, farmers, tradesman, freelance gunmen – all shattered by fighting and praying for peace. We took their portraits and spoke with them while the negatives developed. Ramazan, a man with the eyes of the ancient mariner told us how war had torn Afghanistan. When he was young, he said, his village was a paradise of orchards and roses; a peaceable kingdom. Now they are gone, he said and “we don’t know what the weather is or what the seasons are.” I’ve also added a few portraits of Afghan refugees working in a market outside Peshawar, Pakistan.  

Time Spent: Florida As It Once Was 1972-1982
I began working as an-all around gopher at a small community newspaper in 1972. It had been my dream to be a reporter and after several months of sweeping floors, constructing ads and answering phones, I was given my first assignment-interview the new high school football coach. In the end he sat next to me and fed me quotes about his life and if I ever asked a single question I don’t remember it. I had always
been shy but up until that point I never realized the depth of my affliction. My twin brother had always been the front man of the operation and I stood quietly by his side most of my life. It was declared that I had no future in newspapers so I took up my broom and eventually picked up a camera. I have been hiding behind one ever since.

While pushing a print with bamboo tongs around a tray of fixer I was interrupted by a sports photographer who remarked with a small measure of derision “That’s not a photograph. That’s a ‘Crowleygraph””. It was funny and I began to apply the description to the morsels of humanity, irony and humor, shifting light patterns and happenstance that make up my personal work.


Stephen Crowley approaches his work with the same sense of exploration and wonder as when he was armed with a "Polaroid Swinger" at the age of 13. Over the last 25 years he has tried to find insightful moments in the midst of breaking national and international news that can sometimes define, in a single image, politics and culture. In his personal work Crowley searches for morsels of humanity, irony and humor, collecting images of the country's character as hinted at by physical structures, shifting light patterns and happenstance.

In 2002, Crowley, a graduate of the photography program at Daytona State College was cited as "Photographer of the Year" by the White House News Photographers' Association for a portfolio that included his essays "Voices of Afghanistan" and "A Day in the Life of President Bush." In 2002 the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography was awarded to Crowley and four other photographers at The New York Times for work produced during the war in Afghanistan. That same year he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. In 2005 American Photo Magazine included Crowley on its list of the 100 Most Important People in Photography. His personal photography has been exhibited at the Library of Congress, The National Geographic Society, and the Corcoran Art Museum.

ALUMNI FOCUS exhibitions present photographic works from distinguished alumni of the photography
studies programs of Daytona State College and the University of Central Florida (Daytona Beach).

The Southeast Museum of Photography acknowledges the support and assistance in the organization of this exhibition of its partner organizations in the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies.

The Southeast Center for Photographic Studies is a joint enterprise of the photography programs at Daytona State College, the University of Central Florida (Daytona Beach) and the Southeast Museum of Photography.

Stephen Crowley Stephen Crowley Stephen Crowley
Eyes Waiting, 1996
From the series "Crowleygraphs"
The Way Forward, 2006
From the series "Urban Archaeology"
If I Were Your King, 1995
From the series "If I Were Your King"
Installation Images:

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