David Lurvey

David Lurvey is a photographer with a fondness for walking places. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN to a family of school teachers and grew up around a lot of musically gifted folks. He moved east to study filmmaking in Ithaca, NY, but was quickly drawn more towards still images. While there he met and connected with many talented and generous people who taught him a lot about photography and place and process. David graduated from Ithaca College with a BFA in 2013. He then moved to Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, NY where he currently resides. He spends his time working in various digital archive departments around the city, running a photobook distribution company, and playing softball.


We always wanted to take the hilly way. It was longer but when dad gunned it over the rolling hills on those Wisconsin county roads you’d lift off your seat and feel your stomach drop. It meant we were headed to Amery too. We could shoot BB guns and swim in the culvert.

The culvert ran under a quiet road near the camp. You could cross the road, scramble down some rocks, lay back and let the current take you through and out into the swimming hole on the other side. When the water was low enough you could swim and crawl your way back through the other direction. When the water was high, the current was so strong that it would take all your strength to even make it to the mouth.

One early spring we went there to see sturgeon spawning. If you’ve never seen a 7 foot long fish up close in the wild it’s quite something. And so still. Sturgeon are an ancient fish, highly evolved. They can live to be 100 years old. After seeing them up close I developed a healthy fear. They’re not dangerous really, but I get the feeling they know something we don’t. It didn’t keep me from swimming once summer came and the water warmed. Sturgeon move to deeper waters.

We’d sing songs around the living room with uncles and cousins. The lovers in a dangerous time and the Kodachrome. The wild world and the holy night. I remember being frustrated trying to learn the guitar. I didn’t like that I had to work at it, that my initial attempts and practicing some wasn’t rewarded with better sounds. I needed a quicker reward to keep me going. I liked baseball better for the same reason. I was good I was rewarded at an early stage. I was hooked and wanted to get better. A thing to tell a child is that you can do anything you set your mind to, but it’s not true. You have a trajectory and a body and some natural talents, maybe.

You are a passenger and I am my father’s son.

Passenger came out of an opportunity to exhibit some work in a gallery space in New York last fall called Lubov. My dear friend Sunny Leerasanthanah approached me about pitching a two person show that explored our friendship. We had two months to put it all together and we both agreed that we’d make new work with this show in mind. We met and talked a lot about this tenderness we shared and of a platonic understanding of intimacy that our friendship had developed over the years knowing each other. We wanted to create a space that encouraged people to reflect on that within their own lives.

I’ve since titled my own contribution to the show Passenger and expanded the edit. I don’t see it as a totally finished body of work yet, but one that will continue to evolve as I continue to circle these sentiments.

To view more of David Lurvey’s work please visit his website.