The Darkroom

He’s lived all over the world and seen magnificent sights. But for this Photographer of the Month, it’s all about people.

Charles Levie, a former mathematics teacher, spent 15 years overseas as an instructor with the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. It not only afforded him the adventure of a lifetime, but also added to an already robust photo portfolio.

Through travels and now, his retirement, the camera has become his best friend, his trusted travel accessory and the vehicle that allows him full control over his art.


“Capturing the beauty of simple little creatures is both a joy and a challenge,” Levie, a Baltimore native, told The Baltimore Sun. “It begins with capturing Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ‘decisive moment.’ The photographer then has complete mastery of all aspects of post processing, and finally, the capability to creatively print images to convey how he originally ‘saw’ them."

Levie, now retired, spent 45 years in various classrooms, Baltimore City’s and Howard County’s among them. He then lived in South Korea, Japan and Spain before returning back to Howard County to be closer to family.


He considers his students his calling, and his camera his companion for the time spent without them. He’s even a member of the Baltimore Camera Club, one of the oldest photographic societies in the United States.

Levie’s photo, “Flying Flower,” stood out to Baltimore Sun photographer Ulysses Muñoz’s among entries in September’s “Use of color” SunShots contest. Muñoz said he was struck by the photographer’s composition and attention to detail.

Levie’s work has inspired this month’s photo contest: “Portraits.”

Read more about Levie below and be sure to enter a photo in the SunShots contest for a chance to be profiled and featured on the @baltimoresun Instagram account. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite photo entries.

1) How long have you been taking photos? Since high School with a Kodak Instamatic. In the days of film, I used a Leica and Nikon. In the digital age, my best friend is a Canon 5D.

2) What kind of camera do you shoot with? Canon 5D Mark III.

3) What is your favorite type of photo to take? (i.e. portraits, landscapes, nighttime, black and white, etc.) Environmental portraits are my passion. Engaging perfect strangers on the street and trying to capture a glimpse of their inner spirit is my artistic goal. I view this new era of photography as a time where the photographer maintains full control over his art.

4) What inspired your photography hobby? My father was a Navy photographer during World War II.


5) What advice would you give to aspiring photographers? Be an observer first. Study the works of fellow photographers, and then develop your own style.

6) Where can people look if they want to see more of your work?