Born in Tampa, Fla. in 1942, Levy was raised in Brooklyn. He received a B.A. in art from Brooklyn College in 1964 and a master's degree in art education from New York University in 1966.
"I grew up during the Cold War and the McCarthy era in a family that encouraged art and believed that the world needed to be changed," Levy said. "By the 1960s, people in our nation were marching in the streets for civil rights at home and for peace in Vietnam.
"In communities throughout America, people were standing up for their humanity and dignity and struggling for social justice. As an artist, I needed to find a way to have a direct connection to these realities."
Levy, who lives in New York City, has also photographed people from inner-city neighborhoods near his home and people halfway around the world in Mongolia.
Levy photographed, and participated in, civil rights and peace demonstrations in the late 1950s and 1960s, including the March on Washington in 1963.
Levy also taught at-risk adolescents in New York City schools for 35 years, between 1965 and 2000.
Levy's photographs have appeared in more than 200 exhibitions, including more than 50 one-person shows. His exhibition -- "Images of Appalachian Coalfields" -- had 70,000 visitors when it was displayed the West Virginia Culture Center during the spring of 1991.
Levy has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Alicia Patterson Foundation, Puffin Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts.
"Life of the Appalachian Coal Miner," a portfolio of 12 of Levy's early photographs, was published in 1976.
Levy has two previously-published books featuring his work in the coalfields: "Images of Appalachian Coalfields," published in 1989, and "Builder Levy Photographer," published in 2005. His photographs have also appeared in 25 other books.
More information about his work is available on his website: www.builderlevy.com.
"Appalachia USA" is available for sale at Taylor Books on Capitol Street in downtown Charleston. The new book can also be ordered through the West Virginia Book Company at 304-342-1848 or www.wvbookco.com.Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.