American, b. 1940 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Steffens Leinwohl received a combination B.S. in Photography and Graphic Design from the Institute of Design at IIT in 1963. He studied with Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Arthur Siegal and Nathian Lyons as well as graphic artist Misch Kohn, sculptor Cosmo Compoli, and professional graphic designers Ed Bedno, Chad Taylor. He participated in seminars by Minor White and Fredrick Sommer and a Maine Photo Workshop.
Inspired by Moholy Nagy’s photograms, Leinwohl created them each year he was at the ID, cuminating with images created by only the light of explosions directly on 8x10 color transparencey sheet film which he calls “dynagrams” and images of his face coated with developer pressed directly on 8x10 film he calls “epigrams.”
Chosen by Siskind, he contributed his series of blurred virtual volume photographs of a dancer to “Chicago Choice,” a poetry magazine. One of these images was chosen by Edward Steichen to be added to MoMA’s collection.
Leinwohl documented much of the furvent 60’s documenting street demonstrations of the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and the 1968 Democratic Convention. He also documented a young women’s reformatory in Rhode Island when he spent a month auditing Callahan’s graduate program at RSID.
In May of 1965, he opened his own studio handling creative advertising, corporate, industrial, and magazine assignments often working with many fine Chicago and New York graphic designers and art directors. His ability to assess complex projects from concept to creative execution proved effective in communicating successfully for diverse clientele.
In the 70’s he taught full time at the Institute of Design and part time at Columbia College, Chicago.
He has been a guest lecturer for graduate seminars for photo and design at the Institute of Design, the Art Institute, Columbia College and the Interlochen Fine Arts High School, Michigan.
He has won numerous local, national and international awards for his photography from design and art director clubs and been featured in magazine articles.
In April, 2010 Leinwohl was part of “Passing the Torch: The Chicago Students of Callahan and Siskind” at the Stephen Daiter Gallery in Chicago.