Stettner is a celebrated American photographer whose work includes iconic images of Paris and New York. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York but moved to Paris in the 1950s. As a teenager and young man, Stettner was a regular visitor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to explore its photographic prints collection. His first camera was a wooden view camera and continued to shoot with film over digital for the rest of his life. Stettner studied and later taught at the Photo League, until he went to Paris after the Second World War. He received his Bachelor of Arts, Photography & Cinema I.D.H.E.C. at Paris University. Throughout his life, he befriended and worked with many great photographers.
Louis has photographed Paris and New York for over 60 years, capturing the changes in the people, culture, and architecture of both cities. Using both black-and-white and color images, his work documented fleeting moments in the life of the cities, moments that often cannot be recaptured. Stettner has documented the architectural and cultural evolution of Paris and New York, making his archive of thousands of images an important resource. Few photographers have such an extensive archive of both cities, one that includes historic images of each city's most celebrated landmarks and the daily lives of its citizens.
Stettner's work has an unforced naturalistic quality to it, as he sought to capture the every day lives of his subjects. He was particularly interested in documenting the lives of the working class in each city and he demonstrates sensitivity in this endeavor, photographing them with great dignity. A limited amount of his work is devoted to still life and landscape images. Additionally, his paintings and sculptures tend to be abstract and in sharp contrast to his clear, vivid photographic images.
Into his 80s, Stettner continued to photograph with great energy. He spent significant time sculpting and painting, as well as mixing his work and painting on some of his photographic images. Louis Stettner passed away in Paris on October 13th, 2016.