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'The New Yorker' on Photos by SVA's Elizabeth Bick

From The New Yorker: “Last year, the photographer Elizabeth Bick met her muse on an uptown F train. The woman was older than Bick and thin, with a long face, sharp cheekbones, a strong chin, and heavy eyelids. She was made up as if ready to perform onstage, and wore an every-color-of-the-rainbow outfit. Just before arriving at her stop, Bick asked the woman, whose name is Linda Leven, if she’d like to be photographed, and handed her a card. Weeks passed before the photographer received a response: a headshot and an apology for the delay. Leven had been having back problems, she wrote.

The women’s first appointment was in the tiny studio apartment where Leven has been living for more than fifty years, a place that is 'chaotic in every sense of the word,' according to Bick. They took photographs and spent hours talking about their lives. When Bick suggested that they continue to work together, she remembers Leven responding, 'I am your canvas. You do what you want.' The two started meeting every Friday, making the series of photographs that would eventually become 'Coda,' which Bick has just self-published. The collection is on display at the University of Texas Visual Arts Center, in Austin, through February 24th.

Leven was comfortable in the camera’s eye; she already had a collection of some twenty thousand portraits of herself, most of them taken by her boyfriend of more than thirty years. The photographs made during her sessions with Bick are haunting, erotic, and theatrical…” (For the full story and more photos, click here)

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