Stephen Levey: Monkey Pushing A Button?

Stephen Levey: Monkey Pushing A Button?

Today’s guest is the inspirational photographer and documentarian, fifth generation Angelino, and all-round good guy, Stephen Levey. Stephen joins us on the show to talk about his views on art, his recent foray into cooking, how he happened into professional photography, and why he mainly just wants to be a good person.

Click play button above now to hear this fun episode

We kick the show off hearing about how Stephen ‘discovered his kitchen’ after COVID struck and the fun he is having making delicious meals for himself. Sourdough calls Stephen the true mayor of LA and we hear about the long connection his family has had with the city next. Stephen talks about how he has documented his connection to LA and this springboards a discussion on his relationship with photography.

“I’m mainly cooking for myself and what I realized is that when I started posting pictures of what I make, people started responding, not necessarily about the image, which everybody thinks is garbage but saying, ‘That looks delicious, what is it?” — Steven Levey [0:07:38.0]

He tells the story of how he ended up exhibiting his photographs in a fine art show after documenting a street art event. We then hear why he doesn’t consider himself an artist and why has chosen the iPhone as his camera of choice. Toward the end of our discussion, we talk about all the money Stephen has raised for the LA Marathon, hearing the story behind why he started doing charitable work for the St Jude Children’s Hospital.

Stephen Levey: The Real Mayor of Los Angeles
Stephen Levey: The Real Mayor of Los Angeles

Wrapping up, Sourdough commends Stephen on his endless empathy and desire to simply help others as much as possible, and Stephen shares his views on why he has chosen this life philosophy. For all this and more from today’s admirable guest, be sure to tune in.

Key Points From Our Stephen Levey Episode:

  • How Stephen got interested in cooking and how he is incorporating his photography into it.
  • Stephen’s view that the meals he makes are about the food, not the Instagram food pics.
  • Why Stephen doesn’t eat meat but ate some for the first time in 25 years recently.
  • The story behind how Stephen recently cut his finger after buying a knife sharpener.
  • Stephen’s long-time family home and the story of him being a 5th generation Angelino.
  • How Stephen fell in love with photography and got into documenting LA.
  • The journey Stephen made into professional photography after photographing a street art event.
  • Stephen’s idea of art and how the conception he has of the work he does fits into it.
  • A story about an experience Stephen had at his solo show which influenced his view of himself as a photographer.
  • Why Stephen chooses to use his phone as his camera of choice.
  • Stephen’s philosophy about the value of empathy and why he tries to be a good person.
  • The money Stephen raised for the LA marathon and other charitable causes he is involved in.
  • How Stephen got involved with doing marathons and charitable work for St Jude’s.
  • Stephen’s thoughts on why he does marathons even though they destroy his body.

“The gallerist was like, ‘It’s no problem. Just go get something printed and framed and I’ll take care of the rest.’ So I was like, ‘OK great, where do I find a printer for fine art photography?’ And all of a sudden my shit is fine art photography? What just happened?” — Steven Levey [0:31:24.0]

Levey Angeles Gets Up
Levey Angeles Gets Up – Again

“Using a phone as a camera was a matter of convenience at the beginning.” — Steven Levey [0:41:26.0]

Links Mentioned in Our Stephen Levey Episode:

“Because I am established and for whatever reason people seem to like me, I have made friends with some fairly influential and important famous photographers and I have had this discussion plenty of times. Some of them are really insulted because what they hear me saying is that photography isn’t art. They think that I am critiquing the field and they are part of that. And then I’ll explain to them that this is in no way applicable to you or photography or photographers. It is how I feel about me.” — Steven Levey [0:35:10.0]

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.