The contemporary pictorialist

Robert Stivers

Stivers was born in Palto, California in 1953. He was a professional dancer until a back injury left him unable to continue. Ultimately, photography became his artistic outlet. The photographs and films of Robert Stivers distort the perceptions of their viewers. Stivers’ technique utilizes soft focus, vignettes, and motion blur to create a hazy vision of the world that emboldens the viewers sense of self. Stivers manipuates his images through hand-toning and enlargement in the dark room without the aid of digital technology, much like the original pictorialists of the early 1900s.


"The world according to Robert Stivers is an anxious place in which vision of all is impaired, and in which no one, introvert or extrovert, can immediately feel entirely comfortable or secure…spun around, unmoored from our reference points, off-center, we are thrust abruptly in this astigmatic dramaturgy, rife with hints of ancient ritual, elemental forms, animal spirits, charged objects, celebrants and mourners, births and sacrifices, rushes and pauses, gaps and proximities."

-AD Coleman


"Robert Stivers profession is alchemy, the transmutation of base materials into gold. If there’s a more succinct description of a photographer’s work, we haven’t heard it. Fortunately they don’t burn sorcerers anymore. They give them gallery shows instead."

-Larry Schubert



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