With a distinctive ability to capture the timeless substance of events in images marked by elegance and exuberance, The Day founder Ira Lippke is one of the country’s most celebrated event photographers. Using photojournalism as a starting point, he infuses every shoot with a distinct artistic sensibility—an approach he has come to term “fine art documentary photography.”
Born to hippie parents, Ira was raised with his four younger siblings in a converted school bus in Colorado and Washington State. With forests, orchards and mountains serving as his schoolhouse, Ira developed an acute visual sensibility that found its perfect outlet in photography, which he discovered at age 14. Capturing nature’s own grid of tree and horizon, mountain and sky, he took to the seemingly alchemical process of photography and taught himself its complexities through borrowed books and the example of such masters as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Edward Weston.
Upon relocating to the Los Angeles area in 1993 to attend Biola University, he studied the humanities while opening up his own commercial studio in nearby Long Beach, where he began shooting the weddings of musicians, designers and artists who desired a fresh perspective to documenting their lives.
While continuing to evolve his own fine art and international documentary work, Ira has since become known for his ability to capture the distinct style and emotional ambience of every event with sophistication and professionalism. He is the recipient of the Photographer of the Year award from the Wedding Photojournalist Association and First Place in Brides magazine’s international photo competition, chosen as one of the top 10 wedding photographers by American Photo magazine and is featured regularly in such venues as the New York Times, Town and Country, Martha Stewart Weddings and Inside Weddings.
Ira lives in an 1830s colonial home near the beach in Brookhaven, Long Island, with his wife Andrea Codrington Lippke, a visual culture writer and editor with whom he often collaborates, their daughter Rye and son Soren. He is an avid collector of contemporary art and spends his free time surfing, sailing, riding his ’74 Motoguzzi, following independent film and music and traveling throughout the developing world.
“If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”