Stephen Wicks’ attraction to photography began during his childhood. He says he was inspired by the photo essays in LIFE Magazine. Each week when a new issue arrived it seemed like the world beyond his home was in his hands and he had feelings for and wanted to meet the people who appeared in the pictures and visit the places he saw on the pages in the magazine.
Coming of age during the 50’s and 60’s in America left and indelible mark and in some ways shaped Wicks’ life. He notes, “ The terrible and wonderful events I witnessed via magazine and television images during my growing up years created a deep appreciation for the power of images and an attraction to juxtaposition, and irony.”
His career path has been circular rather than linear leading him to jobs as diverse as: US Army photographer, commercial and advertising photographer, photojournalist, artist, visual educator, administrator and activist.
Much of his creative work is informed by contrasting themes. He explores the tension between the natural landscape and built environment and chooses to ignore our cultural infatuation with celebrity while making photographs about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.
As an artist Stephen Wicks has been using photography, videography, monologues and soundscapes to tell stories about the things he see’s, questions and values. His motivation has been to create picture stories, in print and now also on the screen, to share with others what he has experienced, discovered and captured.
Wicks’ work has typically followed the documentary tradition creating traditional B&W photo essays with up close and personal photographs made, often while living with his subjects over a long period of time, and returning many years later to see and capture changes in their lives.
More recently, Wicks has been making digital color photographs of landscapes, places and objects found in spaces shared by the natural landscape and built environment. Although these photographs are void of people, he believes a human trace is visible in each picture and, with this in mind, he see’s his Nature/Culture images as social landscapes. It is precisely the absence of people along with a sense of their presence, as seen in the marks and artifacts left in the environment, he now finds most fascinating.