"NEW YORK DNA" by DARA LEVINE
On October 15, 1996, Dara Levine embarked upon a journey around the world that would take her through 19 countries, expose her to a myriad of cultures, and indulge her in hundreds of experiences. Accompanied solely by her 35mm camera and a 60-pound backpack, Dara set off on an adventure that would indelibly broaden her perspective of the world around her and profoundly affect her sense of herself as an artist and photographer.
Born in Los Angeles in 1965, Dara was raised in Rye, New York. Her interest in photography was evident as early as age seven. She acquired her first camera, a plastic disc camera, by selling seeds door to door in her neighborhood until she had earned enough points to select the coveted prize. Soon, her interest grew to be a passion.
The body of work representing her eleven-month journey bears witness to a melding of passion with talent. Her destinations were diverse including: Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Nepal, India, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Peru, Mexico, Scotland, Italy and more. However broad the canvas, Dara captures moments of intimacy with both people and animals "in situ".
Continuing on single short-term trips, November 1998 to the Urubamba Valley and into the treacherous Pongo de Mainique and Heath River where she spent time among the Machiguenga Indians who lived in the valley while trying to reclaim title ship of their land from the Government and other groups such as the Colonists who lived high above the plains.
In August 2000, she joined a trip to the state of Chiapas in Mexico. The trip awakened new horizons, and focused Dara's lens on the children of Chiapas. In the poorest parts of the world, the innocence of children turned to hardship. As young as five years old, children are sent out with their parents to beg, sell or steal to keep the family alive.
Over the years, Dara has refocused her lens to the changing landscapes of Central Park, Harlem and New York City. Although her travels take her to places where her camera continues to tell amazing stories, she will always return to New York City and call it home.
Dara and her husband reside in New York City surrounded by the multitude of nationalities and cultures witnessed on her sojourn.