Since 1972 Neal Slavin has been documenting groups and gatherings. From bingo players to ballroom dancers to religious congregations Slavin has photographed seemingly every imaginable organization that human beings have dreamed up. While the pictures themselves are most often posed Slavin has always asked that his subjects arrange themselves in front of the camera, allowing natural hierarchies, group dynamics, and indications of status to emerge. Through these pictures Slavin has sought to capture the inner character of these groups of people much as a portrait photographer seeks to capture the essence of an individual.
Slavin is currently working on THE PRAYER PROJECT, a book and film which embraces the gatherings of many different religious groups - a timely series in our present era of growing intolerance. In discussing his motivations, Slavin wrote: "I want my work to affirm our self identity within our public persona; to affirm the joy of being together rather than being apart. My intention is to intensely glimpse that kind of human spirit through the lens of my camera.”
Neal Slavin is both a still photographer and film director. His photographic books include PORTUGAL, WHEN TWO OR MORE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER, and BRITONS. In addition Slavin is a film director whose credits include FOCUS; written by Arthur Miller, which stars William H. Macy and Laura Dern.
His photographs are both privately and publicly collected. They are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Centre Pompidou, the International Center of Photography (ICP), the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American Art , the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, and the John Paul Getty Museum.
Slavin has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in addition to receiving two CAPS grants and a National Endowment in the Arts grant. His teaching credentials include classes and workshops at Les Recontres d’Arles in Provence, The Cooper Union, Manhattanville College, The School of Visual Arts, The City University of New York at Queens College as well as serving as a visiting artist at the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently teaching a special combined class for Pace University and the International Center of Photography at his studio in New York City where he also gives private workshops.