With a son on the way, in 2006, Levere was looking for a way to decorate the child's nursery. He stumbled upon Kenneth G. Libbrecht’s zoomed-in photos of snowflakes and was inspired.
“I realized that I could do this myself and I was living in the right place to do it,” he told The Huffington Post. “And why not find a way to look forward to winter in the city of lake-effect snow?”
“Buffalo has been derided for so long with the volumes of snow this region get,” he said. “So it is wonderful to have found a way to embrace this scar and be able to show the beauty of what is in plain sight.”
Levere had spent the early years of his career as a commercial photographer and photojournalist in Manhattan. He is best known for his collection "New York Changing: Revisiting Berenice Abbott's New York" (2004, Princeton Architectural Press). He and his wife moved to snow-laden upstate more than a decade ago to raise their family.
The fascination with snowflakes took his art in a new direction. Using information Libbrecht posted on his snowcrystals.com website, Levere set out to capture the lovely little bits that make up a blizzard on a microscopic level.
“It is a joy to just look at these gems,” he said. “It is fascinating to discover each and every flake. And to see the fascination and appreciation when people see the large prints on the wall in a gallery.”
To save on pricey equipment, Levere uses a microscope with a tube camera attachment.
The work is now getting national attention. A collection of Levere's snowflakes is featured this month in The New Yorker.
"In his photographs, the white of the falling flake is replaced with the translucence of ice, with its etched-in patterns and pathways," the magazine notes on its website. "Some of his flakes are geometric, with an almost mechanical exactitude. Others are fluid, resembling liquid blossoms."
Friedman captures images of the sun, and together they expect their Fire & Ice project to become a book that will, in part, shatter some stereotypes attributed to their chilly home.
Levere has a fashion illustrator for a mother, a printer for a father, and a portrait painter for a grandfather. He wholeheartedly believes that art is in his blood.
“Sometimes I wonder if there is printing ink in my veins,” he told The Huffington Post.
There might be a sprinkle of snow, too.
Also on HuffPost: