A self-taught fine art and documentary photographer, Derek Slevin is known for work that is riveting in its intimacy. He aims to “bare his soul through the camera lens” to produce raw, passionate shots that capture and reveal the emotional or essential truth of both the subject and the artist.Slevin is continually inspired by “the moment,” absorbing the subject or scenery before him and waiting for “that perfect light.” These wondrous moments accumulate to form a collage, and eventually a collection. “For me, artistic independence is the freedom to photograph the moment that was. If someone is moved by my art, then they’ve shared my moment. I’m excited and inspired by communicating with others through imagery this way.”
Slevin grew up in New York City. At seventeen, his life suddenly changed when his father passed away. Slevin recalls being overwhelmed by sadness and insecurity. To overcome these feelings, he says, “I got kind of wild and crazy. I felt lost, had no direction, didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to handle the grief.” He refers to living a “dual life,” insecure on the inside, but with a rough façade.
This difficult period continued until the day he picked up his father’s camera and discovered a way to deal with his grief, express his emotions, and temper his frustrations. Photography opened up his world.
Slevin decided to attend photography school in Colorado, where it became clear that he had talent. However, his own personal feelings of uncertainty, combined with the urgings of his family to pursue a more stable career, led him to transfer to a college in New York City and obtain a degree in business. From there, he entered the business world and did not pick up a camera in earnest for many years.
A personal event once again drew Slevin to his original passion, the camera. “I had this realization one day that a piece of me was missing. It was too long since I’d created art. That was followed by an overwhelming creative excitement that I wanted to share through my photographs.” Since then, Slevin has been shooting almost nonstop. At present, his collection is focused on flora, landscapes, and “life-scapes”—including the ones that appear in Faces of the Forgotten.
While Slevin’s primary focus is on photography as art, he also hopes to foster an awareness of the beauty of nature and of the people and things that surround us.
He is passionate about promoting humanitarian causes, and raising awareness about preserving and protecting the environment.
“I like to think of myself as always evolving. The discovery of the next adventure comes with exploring the vast natural world. It’s my personal access to unlimited creative opportunities. I feel the spirit of the subject I’m shooting—whether it’s an individual’s face, a flower, or an environment, I am fully absorbed into that space. At that moment, nothing else exists!”