Steve Pyke is a contemporary portrait photographer based in New York.
Interestingly with his photography he uses both the style of August Sander, with the use of a persons’ environment such as in the London Homeless collection and also of Richard Avedon who used backdrops to highlight the significance of the sitter. The collection ‘Holocaust Survivors‘ was particularly interesting as the series was taken on the same day and all the sitters are in the same position, a head and shoulders crop, looking straight into the camera, like prisoners. This echoes their time in concentration camps in the 1940s; a viewer can see that this is something that cannot be forgotten or forgiven by these survivors.
“For me, photography is an investigation into the nature of being” – Steve Pyke
I feel this quotation is very reflective of the work Pyke produces: he runs many projects simultaneously whereby he puts together what our society means to him. His project of the Holocaust Survivors and WWI Veterans highlight the silent heroes from social conflict. At the same time, he photographed his sons Jack and Duncan from when they were born, then a few minutes after, an hour, a day, a week, a month and then every year: this not only shows how boys age and grow, but it depicts the relationship Pyke between father and son: he uses plain backdrops so that all that is important is the figure. The range of projects he undertakes portrays how he is interested in the nature of being as a society and as an individual. However, this personal relationship with his sons becomes more universal: other parents can reflect on this series as they realise how their children grew up too.