David Lebe ‘70 (Photography) is a photographer known for his experimentation in several genres. Born in New York, he received his BFA in photography from the Philadelphia College of Art. While at PCA, Lieb studied under Ray K. Metzker, Barbara Blondeau and Tom Porett. All three had trained at the Institute of Design in Chicago whose lineage went back to Moholy Nagy and the Bauhaus. While still a PCA student. Lebe built several multi-aperture pinhole cameras which enabled him to print panoramic vistas of which often included his friends, colleagues and teachers such as David Graham or Sol Libsohn. In 1972, Lebe began teaching photography at his alma matter, which he continued until 1990. Lebe produced floral photograms, often hand-colored, and drew with a penlight to make calligraphic auras around images of himself and others. In the late 1980s, these time-lapse light drawings often framed vases, which took on elegiac yet celebratory meanings in the era of AIDS. Lebe moved to rural New York with his partner Jack Potter, where he began to practice a recuperative lifestyle of macrobiotic gardening and began work in digital media both with plant materials and printing the earlier pinhole images anew.
Lebe has exhibited widely at the ICA, the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Paul Cava Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; the Los Angeles Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Art Institute of Chicago and Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL; Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; Jayne H. Baum Gallery, Daniel Wolf Gallery, New York Public Library, Alternative Museum, New York; Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Vancouver Art Gallery, Royal Ontario Museum, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, CA and the Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France, Paris, FR. Lebe's work is in many collections including the Getty Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the University of Maryland, the Hallmark Photographic Collection, Kansas City, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Lebe's lifework is currently showcased in a major retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art until May.