An Exclusive Interview With Jon Luvelli
Lens Magazine|September 2020
"There are many points of view. We, as photographers, immortalize the existence of an isolated view." – Luvelli
By Catalin Croitoru

He is seen by many as a poet of the unspoken and an illustrator of the unseen. Watching his pictures taken over the years, you cannot remain insensible: the street is unfolding in front of your eyes—the romantically macabre view of The Monochromatic Master Jon Luvelli. Through LUVELLI's images, ordinary street life is getting a new value.

Jon Luvelli is an Italian-American street photographer best known for his black-and-white images depicting people's idiosyncrasies in rural areas.

His work conveys social messages addressing economic and civil issues. He is noted for his macabre candid photography. He coined the title Fine Art Documentarian for photographers merging documentary and art photography.

His rural life work, social and environmental issues are exhibited and held in prominent museums, galleries, private collections, and published worldwide.

Lens Magazine: Hello Luvelli, can't help but admit that it's an honor to discuss your works. Can you share with our readers - Where did it all start?

LUVELLI: I was first introduced to photography when I was around 8 years old by my grandfather, a photographer, and a Seabee in the United States Navy. He (My grandfather) documented his tour of duty during World War II in Guam.

L. M.: A majority of your work is rural America, places such as Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, and Missouri. What is it that inspires you to photograph rural areas?

LUVELLI: I'm drawn to rural locations; they seem timeless in a way. As a child, I was surrounded by small towns; they've always intrigued me. I find it more challenging to shoot street photography, as in the city, there are always unique characters popping up. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. I shot a lot of exciting things in the major cities when I was younger. It's basically been there, don't that, I find for me there are real treasures in the rural parts.

Jon Luvelli © All rights reserved

L. M.: The night is a very prominent theme throughout your work. What is it about the night that draws you in?

LUVELLI: I am nocturnal. I love the light in the day, but nothing beats the intensity of dim-lit streetlights, the adrenaline of blowing a flash to illuminate the darkness – the mystique of what's out there hiding in the nooks and alleys. The nightlife in uninhibited; there is more of realness with a wild sense of nature.

Jon Luvelli © All rights reserved

L. M.: With such a candid approach to your work, I imagine that some people have a negative reaction to you suddenly invading their space. How do you explain to the general public that as a Fine Art Documentarian you're documenting history, so they may have a better understanding and hopefully, newfound respect for what you do?

LUVELLI: I don't expect everyone to understand what I am doing, nor do I seek approval. If I select a scene for my work, it's because the view says something; there is always a message in the details.

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