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Seva, the selfless service
Photojournale : Photo documentary and photo journal stories from around the world
b. 1951 New York City, New York, United States
Before I was born, my parents worked as journalists for two metropolitan newspapers in New York City. One of their colleagues, crime photographer Arthur Fellig (Weegee), became a family friend and regular visitor to our home. During my teens, I was encouraged to explore my neighbourhood (lower east side of NYC) with a camera, by both my parents and Weegee. At the age of 14, after selling my first photo of a nearby burning warehouse, I began to think seriously about photography. Throughout my teen years I continued to shoot, process, print and sell my work to various journals including: Time Magazine, New York Times, Newsday, L. I. Press, A. P., and Réalité (English ed.).
In 1969, I received my draft notice from the U.S. military, for service in the Vietnam War. I fled the draft by moving to and becoming a permanent resident of Australia. During the following years, I photographed many self-assigned stories around the island continent. For example, during 1971, I was engaged as a driver by FCATSI (Federal Council of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders) during a voter registration drive for Indigenous Australians in outback Queensland and Northern Territory. At the same time, I was recording the weekly five minute radio spot for the late Brian White of radio 2GB, “Through My American Eyes”. On this extensive trip I shot a story of my record of travels from Palm Island, to Euendemu and the Alice, and on to Mount Isa. Another story that year, a day in the life of a Sydney Harbour tug crew, is being purchased by the National Maritime Museum of Australia.
During the middle 70’s, I was involved in such seminal Sydney art galleries as the Yellow House and the Tin Sheds, both shooting and showing. Many of my photographs from this period were part of several eminent Australian artists’ documentation and process work. Many also illustrate books and films documenting this milieu. During this time, I became the photography tutor in the faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts at the University of Sydney. I was also employed as tutor of photography at the Petersham TAFE.
It was in the late 70’s that I started shooting film documentaries and also managed the Sydney Filmmakers Co-op Cinema.
In the 80’s, I became a Chief Lighting Technician (gaffer) on Australian feature films, all the while continuing to shoot my stills portfolio work.
From the late 90’s, I hit the gallery circuit again with several group and solo exhibitions, as well as judged inclusions in several juried prizes.
In 2005 I held a well received and reviewed, forty-year retrospective of my street work, “Wearing a Camera”.
I now have agency/gallery representation and continue to shoot in the streets wherever I go.
Presently, I have two exhibitions, themed around contemporary Paris, booked for 2007.
- Sam Bienstock
Selected Exhibition History
2005 Gallery Xposure - Sydney
40 year one man retrospecive exhibition “Wearing a Camera”
Maritime Union of Australia
Purchase of “Sydney Harbour Tugs” series
2003 Ulrick Schubert Photographic Art Award, Gold Coast Art Centre
judged for inclusion in annual group prize exhibition “Lisbon Façade”
McGregor Prize for Photography, University of Southern Queensland judged for inclusion in annual group prize exhibition “Ghost of the Alhambra” & “Tuscan Dance”
Nikon Summer Salon, Centre for Contemporary Photography judged for inclusion “Apparition at the Produce Markets I & II”
Polaroid, Annual Polaroid Award & P Magazine, judged for inclusion “Apparition at the Produce Markets III & IV”
2002 Gallery East - Sydney
two person photographic exhibition “Haiku Photography”
2001 Gallery East - Sydney
inclusion in annual Christmas group exhibition “Sydneyscape”
2001 Gallery East - Sydney
two person photographic exhibition “Synchronicity”
2000 RPR Consultancy - Sydney
inclusion in annual Christmas group exhibition “Fragments”
1999 James Harvey Gallery - Sydney
two person photographic exhibition “Worlds Apart”
1998 Absolut Vodka - Sydney Opera House
judged for inclusion in annual group prize exhibition “Absolut
1995 “Under A Hot Tin Roof , art, passion and politics at the Tin
Sheds Art Workshop” by Therese Kenyon
inclusion of photographs in book
1974 Commonwealth Bank - Sydney
one person photographic exhibition “Bondi Flare”
1973 Watters' Gallery - Sydney
performance artist & photographer “Joe Bonomo Show”
1972-1974 Sydney University Arts Workshop (Tin Sheds) - Schools of Fine
Arts & Architecture (Univ. of Syd.) & Petersham T.A.F.E.
tutor - photography & video
member/photographer/postermaker - Earthworks Poster Collective
1971-1972 Yellow House Art Gallery - Sydney
1970 emigrated to Australia from USA
1968-2003 freelance photojournalist
credits include: N.Y. Times, Long Island Press, Time Magazine,
U.S. Camera, Popular Photography, Associated Press, Realites
(France), Lighting Dimensions, Sydney Morning Herald,
Filmnews, Hanimex, Art Force, Australian Photography,
Australian Bike Rider, & Encore Magazine.