In Greek mythology, the Teumessian fox could not be caught. The magical dog Laelaps, who captured everything it chased, was sent to catch the fox. To put an end to the paradox of the two creatures running around endlessly, Zeus turned them both to stone and cast them into the stars as Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (Teumessian fox). Matthew Levine ’11 appropriately named his photography business Cosmic Fox after this Greek myth. As a freelance sports photographer, Levine captures athletes in their most competitive moments, preserving their achievements not in the stars but on walls, web pages, and social media. Walk through Johnston Hall or Moravian Steel Athletic Complex, and Levine’s images of goal kicks and three pointers are frozen in time.
Levine, who played soccer at Moravian and graduated with a degree in English with a focus on creative writing, knew early on that he wanted to tell a story. He started by working as the digital content manager for the North American Soccer League (NASL), where he interviewed players and handled the social media and digital content. Now and then, Levine would take photographs with his phone for Instagram, but he felt the photos lacked in quality. “So, I bought a camera and started shooting,” he says.
Soon after, the NASL folded, and Levine faced a fork in the road: Should he find another job working for someone else or venture out on his own? He chose the latter, and Cosmic Fox was born.
Levine’s first paid job as a freelance photographer with Cosmic Fox was an engagement party for a friend. From there, word spread, and his business grew.
Today, he focuses primarily on sports photography. Some of his biggest clients include his alma mater Moravian University, Adelphi University, and the Long Island Junior Soccer League.
“For Moravian, I shoot one home game per season for each sport and additional games if a team makes the playoffs,” he says. Recently, he shot playoff games for Moravian’s field hockey and women’s soccer teams. He will also shoot the Moravian men’s basketball team’s game at the Palestra in Philadelphia on January 14.
Levine says photographing sporting events isn’t always as straightforward as one might think. “When you’re shooting sports, of course you’re capturing the competition, but you also have to be aware of other important moments in the game.”
He says his education at Moravian helped shape the curiosity and attention to detail that makes for a good sports photographer. “I spent a semester abroad at The University of Bangor in Wales, which had a particularly big impact on me,” he says.
In addition to still photography, together with former NASL colleague George Giosi, Levine recently directed and produced a documentary called Still Defending. Their filmtells the story of Canadian former professional soccer player Drew Beckie’s struggle with myocarditis and his return to the playing field.
Although he’s not using his English degree quite as he planned, Levine says he feels like he’s exercising the creative side of his brain. “I’m still telling a story; I’m just using a different medium in the form of photography.” —Elizabeth Shimer Bowers