Chesapeke Life Magazine (January/February 2008)

MOST SAILORS TRY to avoid storms but photographer Russell Cather Levi heads right into them in pursuit of art. "I've shot black, white, and blue squalls," he says. "Those are my favorite shots. Sailors might say, 'He's a fool,' but usually my sails are down, and I'm harnessed in when my camera's on."

A visit to Russell Cather Levi Film Art Photography, his new second-floor gallery on Annapolis's Main Street, reveals a broader attraction to watery environments: His storymy images share wall space with pre-dawn marshes, Bay wildlife, and majestic schooners. "The Chesapeake is my main subject," say Levi, who docks his forty-three-foot Jeanneau sailboat in Annapolis. "From the C&D cnaal to Norfolk and everything navigable in between, I've sailed - and shot it.

The pony-tailed fifty-four-year old, who plays jazz guitar and piano in local venues under the name Russanonynous, studied fine art at Virginia Commonweath University, where he focused on landscape painting and print making. After opening a gallery of his paintings in St. Croix, he moved to Maryland in 1981. While sailing on the Bay, he rekindled his life long love affair with art photography and began ammassing his Chesapeake collection. He first exhibited his photos locally in 2006 at the Galleries at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.

Capturing drama in light is his trademark as most of his images have a soft, etheral feel to them with almost pastel tones. He plans to publish his first coffee table beek, Annapolis Nights, early next yearl ge;s aksi becine jbiwb fir word image photographs, in which is written musings fill the mat surrounding an off-center photo.

For now, he remains devoted to film photography, without special effects or computer edits. "I respect the art of digital photography, but I also believe in the integretity, and I like to exploit the limitiations of film," he says. "A lot of things I od are very soft and grainy. It's low tech and old school.

Elizabeth B. Wrightson ART GALLERY