Stivers’ photographs explore the alternate trajectory of photographic history. He explores the potential of the un-sharp and the Pictorialist's use of soft focus lenses that imbue works with an ethereal and painterly quality. Photographs of mysterious figures, botanicals, and nebulous spaces, along with earlier works, are all connected by a continual visual mystery and muted beauty. For many of his works, Stivers begins with a sharply focused negative that is then manipulated in the printing process, causing intentional loss of clarity to achieve, sensual, dream-like images.
Robert Stivers was born November 17th, 1953 in Palo Alto, California. Stivers studied at the University of California, Irvine (1975), earned his MA at New York University (1980), and has exhibited internationally since the early 1990s. His work is in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris, France), The Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA), The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), Center for Creative Photography (Tucson, AZ) George Eastman House (Rochester, NY), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY), and the Victoria & Albert Museum (London). He currently lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.