Ivan Dmitri (1900-1968), or Levon West, was an American photographic artist. Dmitri’s given name was Levon Assadorian, but he changed his name to Levon West when enlisting in the Navy for World War I. The name West was his mother’s maiden name. He used the name Ivan Dmitri for his color photography, but kept the name Levon West for his non-photography.
Dmitri loved art, but he majored in business administration as a result of his father’s persuasion.
While studying at the Art Students’ League in New York, Dmitri drew sketches of different types of planes. One sketch was of Charles Lindbergh’s plane. After he found out Lindbergh flew that plane on a record breaking trans-Atlantic flight, he quickly took the sketch to The New York Times. That sketch was featured on the front page of the newspaper, which boosted his career as an artist.
Dmitri was one of the first artists to work with color photography, and he wrote several books on the subject. The first color photograph on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post was by Dimitri. He was such an advocate for photography, he assisted in establishing one of the first photography exhibits at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also founded Photography in the Fine Arts in 1959 and was the third recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award in April 1962.
Dmitri created 11 covers for The Saturday Evening Post.