Local Talk: Q+A with multi-media artist Colleen James

Thanks so much for sharing your work @ Local! Initial response has been overwhelmingly positive. Tell us about these images and especially the composition.

The series Wave is intended to draw the viewer in on a few levels. The ocean has a calming effect — a respite in nature from our busy lives. The image is at once familiar and unfamiliar. I’ve combined images to create something that is intended to pull you in, to make you look closer and ask if it’s real or imagined. I like to play with collage — to physically cut/paste/combine the images in a new abstract way.

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Santa Monica has this really magical/ special mojo, what pulled you into using this location as your canvas?

I was traveling for work and woke up early one morning. The moment of sunrise is so special, especially when you’re alone — the quality of the light, the magnitude of it all.

Art is a passion project for you, yes? At what point in your life did you start putting concepts together?

Art is more of a way of living for me, and always has been. It’s a kind of meditation. My mother was an artist, and my two sisters and daughter are artists. I studied painting in college, with a focus on portraiture, and up until a few years ago I was exclusively into realism. Since 2015 I’ve moved to collage and abstract painting. I’m also lucky to have a day job that I’m passionate about (working for the furniture brand Knoll).

How, why and when do you take on a particular project?

I like to experiment and work in a multitude of styles and mediums at once. In my studio I usually have 3-4 projects going at any given time. Right now I just finished a portrait for a friend, and I’m also working on a large color block painting. I find that keeps my work fresh.


Is there a particular medium you prefer working with?

Oil or acrylic painting is my favorite — I love the feel of the paint, the excitement of a new canvas. It’s where I find my happy place.
 

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Is there a project that you have been working towards for some time but haven't taken that next step? I ask this question because so many of us have thoughts to building a creative model or platform but just stop short before fully committing.

I start a painting series and usually stop after 3-4 pieces and start something completely new. At some point I’d like to find a language that I stick with for a longer period. I feel fortunate to have a passion and practice that I can lean into even more as I grow older — age presents no limitations when it comes to art.

What does living in Montclair mean to you as an artist?

I’ve be deepening my involvement in the community of artists here in Montclair. It’s an incredibly rich and welcoming group. 

You are donating proceeds of sales of this project to Toni's kitchen which is an awesome gesture. Tell us more about your connection to this truly unique and valued organization right here in Montclair.

My husband and I both volunteer there. The mission is so important — the people who run it are incredible as are the people they serve. I like the idea of using my art to connect with the community.

What's next for you in the art space?

I’m working on an abstract series on paper and canvas. I’m inspired by the repetitive patterning of artists like Damien Hirst and Agnes Martin. You can find it on my website at colleen-james.art

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What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

I’m pretty simple when it comes to coffee. Good, strong drip coffee with milk.


Local Talk - Q+A with Photographer Leah Morgan

Leah, we're so excited to show your work at Local as it captures such joyful moments and expressions of a land and culture historically known for expressing their love. For me, it's a constant reminder that it's a good day to have a good day. Please tell us why you pursued this project.

Thank you for showcasing Good Morning Jamaica! I pursued this project because I absolutely love the country. The landscape is spectacular, the food is delicious, the water is warm and crystal clear, and the people, well, their smiles are contagious and their love for life is inspiring. For me, visiting Jamaica is a time to bring balance back into my life. A time for me to slow down, in a place where I am surrounded by happy people and positives vibes. Every day in Jamaica is a good day to have a good day.

Each time I visit Jamaica, my love for the people, the landscape and the culture grows stronger. I am continuously impressed by the loving spirit of the local people, their value of hard work, and most of all, their smiles.  I am inspired to give back to the people that give me so much joy. I would love nothing more than to be able to take the proceeds from this exhibition and contribute it to the local communities. Giving back to the community is always the mission that drives my work as a social documentary photographer.

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Montclair is an interesting town where there is extreme levels of wealth but also poverty just around the corner and yet there seems to be dissatisfaction irrespective of social caste. How did you find the different classes of people vs. their general mood for the people in Jamaica?

I find the mood of Jamaicans is generally happy, no matter their class. When I ask locals how they are today, their response is usually given with a big loving smile and they say they are blessed. No matter what, rich or poor, big house or small house, showering with cold water or in a river, driving or walking to work, they feel happy and grateful to live another day.

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There is one image from this Good Morning Jamaica collection of a man standing alone along the shore but he is not looking out at the ocean. He is looking inland with hand extended. What is going on here?  

 That’s William. He's blind. Every day he walks alone, along the shore of Negril’s Seven Mile Beach with his cane in tow. He stops occasionally and puts his hand out, hoping someone will give him some spare change. I will continue to try to support him because having a disability is challenging enough, let alone in a place that doesn’t have as many resources. If you meet William, he greets you with a sweet smile and genuine gratitude, not just for the donation, but also for the time you invested in talking with him. 

 

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Your work has taken you all over the world and I can't help but ask if there was one project that has had the greatest impact on your discipline.

I studied with a National Geographic Photographer in Italy for many years. She made the greatest impact on me by teaching me how to get up close and personal with my subjects, encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone which enabled me to deepen my creativity.  She helped guide me into more of a fine arts style of shooting. I'm always looking forward to my next opportunity with her.

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A topic I've discussed with many of our Local photographers is that of digital/ cell phone photography vs. the more traditional camera. Do you have a POV for how or what is used in photography?

A few years ago, I might have said using a traditional camera was the best way to capture amazing images. But that’s not necessarily true anymore.  I believe it’s easier to approach a person with an iPhone because of its unobtrusive small size, and with today's technology, come away with stunning portraits.  Many of the images here in my exhibition were shot using my iPhone. 

  

I love that you extended your discipline into a charitable cause with Cards for Kids. Please tell us how you got started with this program and what it has meant to you.

 I started Cards for Kids after visiting and volunteering for several years at local schools in the Negril area of Jamaica. I noticed they needed so many supplies and necessities at these schools. Many of these children would arrive to class without items that we take for granted such as pencils, shoes or even food, which impacts their ability to learn properly. I simply can't allow that. It pains me to see families that are struggling to send their children to school and on top of that, worry about how their children are going to eat that day. I paired up with The Rockhouse Foundation and started donating to this amazing organization. The Rockhouse Foundation not only builds schools in impoverished areas, but they also provide the children with supplies, and most importantly, breakfast daily. 

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What's next for you and how best to stay in touch with your work?  

You can learn more about my projects through my website, leahmichelephotography.com. You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook @leahmichelephotography.

 

What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage? 

My favorite coffee beverage is iced coffee. I love it and drink it all year long, even in the winter. Plus, I'm meticulously obsessive about how it's prepared, so I make it myself, using an old-school espresso maker. First, I make the espresso in advance and refrigerate. Then, I mix 2-3 shots with a little bit of half n half, agave sugar, and ice.  Delicious...which goes perfectly with the Granola Lab Cranberry Cashew Compound that I'm constantly picking up from Local Coffee. 

Local Talk - Q+A with New York Street Photographer Scot Surbeck

Scot, let's start with the evening you hung your photographs @ Local. I was anticipating perhaps an hour or so to place all of the images and then 4 hours in, you were almost done. Clearly, there's a highly complex process driving your craft. So two initial questions:

How do you approach each project so there's a comprehensive contextual experience? 

I study the exhibit space and how people move through it, the lighting (both natural and artificial), and the sound (ambient and music). I  envision the experience of entering and first seeing the pictures, and then moving  in for a closer look.  I then try to create an exhibit that has a strong emotional and visual presence and also enhances the space.

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How did you approach the project for Local including the masterful grid display system?

The large patina metal panels and high ceiling allowed me to create a show that is relatively dense with images  and includes large scale (20" x 30") pictures mounted high that can be easily seen because of their size.  By carefully and precisely arranging the photos, a grid was created which seems appropriate for pictures taken on the grid of streets in New York City.

You have a super intimate relationship with NYC which is evident from the manner in which you capture a variety of moments. NYC is arguably the capital of the world so no surprise in selecting this market but what specific elements draw you in?

 I always feel fully alive when I'm in New York City and I look for that energy in the people and situations around me.

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Of the current collection of images @ Local, which one brings you back for re-interpretation?

I can't say there's one that I keep coming back to. They are all equally interesting to me. 

At what age did you begin your craft and what was the initial driver for you to consider photography as a path?

I've loved photography all of my working life, most of which has been spent as an architect. There was no one moment when I became a street photographer. It happened gradually, then gathered steam. Now street photography defines and nurtures me, and gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Photography is an evolution, personal development as well as technology and equipment. Do you like where we are today and where photography is going or do you prefer a past time with arguably simpler option?

My learning curve as a photographer was greatly accelerated by the transformation from film to digital, and the development  of image processing software such as photoshop and light-room. It simply became much easier - and less expensive - to learn how to produce decent work. Technology doesn't produce fine art however. In order to do that, you're on your own.

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What's next on you journey? Is there a project that you are working on or working towards?

My journey is street photography. I want to get better, to keep evolving as an artist and a person.

What's your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

Black coffee, room for half and half, sweetened slightly by stevia.

More of Scot’s work here: https://www.scotsurbeck.com/index

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Local Talk - Q+A with Global Street Photographer Alan Holzman

What formal photography training, if any, have you had?

My parents gave me my first camera when I was 5 years old after I had my tonsils removed.  When I was in high school my dad and I built a darkroom in the cellar giving us a great opportunity to share the mutual passion of photography.   College, grad school and family had me place any serious photography on the back burner for many years.  About 5 years ago when I lost a job I really loved, in a school for emotionally disturbed kids, (I eventually earned a PhD in Clinical Social Work) I decided to turn back to photography.  Street photography helped me integrate my interest in connecting with people and and my love of making photos.  I feel I always develop a relationship with someone I photograph even it the connection only lasts a few seconds.

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I'm pretty much self taught.  I attend many lectures  on photography and have been involved in B & H's Event Space Portfolio Development program for several years.  This has helped me develop my skills considerably and also facilitated my acceptance into 3 group shows at Soho Photo Gallery in New York.  In addition, I've taken a few street photography workshops.

What camera/ cameras are your go-to for this particular discipline? 

I try to use film cameras as often as possible, however, I shoot with digital cameras as well.  My film cameras include a Yashica twin lens reflex, a Leica rangefinder and a Hasselblad.  Digitally I mostly use my Fujiflim x100t and my pocketable Ricoh GR II.

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There was a brief time when I was an aspiring photographer working on a studio in NYC and at the time, I recall the need to ‘get the shot’. Time, expense, film cost all contributed to this need. As film has moved to digital with time, expense and cost all but becoming a non-factor - are we better or worse for capturing that special shot?

I think "getting the shot" is more dependent upon the photographer than the gear.  Digital allows more flexibility and less cost no doubt, however, I find that film slows me down and forces me to pay more attention to subject matter.  I also enjoy the process of developing film.

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Images of people are very personal with the subject generally wanting to be viewed through a certain view. Who gets to decide on that view when you’re photographing someone?

When I photograph people on the street there is a combination of the subject's response and my timing.  Many of my street images, especially in India, are actually street portraits, where I ask a subject for permission and then they get to pose as they wish.  I often ask them not to smile but the rest is up to them.  I choose when to click the shutter.

We have galleries, museums and other venues like Local that aim to share artistic work with a public viewing audience. What is your favorite and/ or recommended channel for experiencing your work? 

I like seeing my images printed and hanging on a wall.  Physical images are very dear to me.  Whether in my home or a gallery or at Local, I much prefer a real, tangible photograph to a digital image on a screen.  With that said, I also find that sites like Instagram allow our work to reach a bigger audience.

What has been the most enlightening image you’ve ever captured - either at that moment of releasing the shutter or evaluating images afterwards?

I don't have one "most enlightening image."  However, photographs in which I've been able to capture emotion have the greatest impact on me.

What has been the most difficult shot to capture and why? 
You ask about the most difficult image I've ever captured. I don't have just one, but a few years ago I did a project in which I made street portraits of New York City police officers.  Initially, I was very intimidated.  Approaching  officers and asking them to pose was, at first,  quite stressful.  After some time I became more comfortable and had a really enjoyed talking with and photographing the officers of NYPD.

What do you hope comes of the public viewing your work?

I hope that people who come to Local and see my images are moved by the wonderful subjects that have become faces that I will forever remember.

What projects do you have coming up? 

Currently I'm working on a project about myself.  I'm scheduled for knee replacement surgery on January 30 and I'm attempting to document the entire process (not the surgery itself) from pre surgical visits to post surgical recovery.  

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What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage? 

Favorite coffee/tea:  I love a good cup of strong black coffee.  Also, Local makes a drink (I forget the name) with cayenne pepper that I really enjoy.  I'm also a big tea drinker.

ps. the drink is ‘Funktado’ :)

IG: @alanholzmanphoto

Inquiries: adhphd@gmail.com , Mobile: 973.985.1739

Local Talk - Q+A with Local West Coast Artist Dolores Lusitana

We're so thrilled to have you post at the shop and thank you for being so accommodating in shipping the images!  West Coast images in an East Coast space brings me happiness as we're all California dreamin' to some degree. How do you think about one coast vs. the other from an artistic perspective? 

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I was first drawn to photography while living in New York City from 1981-1997. I’ve always thought of the city as a people laboratory - everyone combating the pressures of city life, the weather, the fierce professional competition, yet somehow all interdependent in those struggles. There’s an underlying humanity that I don’t experience in the same way on the west coast. California offers a more idealized lifestyle; grand, expansive landscapes, lots of sunshine with a cultural slant towards leisure. They’re completely different ways of life. Despite being a native Californian and grateful for the relative ease here (sans the earthquakes and fires..) I’ve always felt more at home on the east coast, more alive and inspired. Perhaps ironically, I think now of New York as a periodic B12 shot, my place for ideas and inspiration, and California the place where I can hunker down without distraction and get the work done.

 

Your prints, 'A deeper look at the Venice Beach Canals' provides us with a glimpse into a special place in southern California. Why did you select this area as your focus? 

I’d stopped shooting for a time and started my business, Situation Book. I was spending a lot of time behind the computer, and starting to feel a little hollow for abandoning my own creativity. The Venice Beach Canals were within walking distance from my home and I decided to take my camera for an outing - shooting for the first time in a couple of years. I had no objectives, no real intention of making images, I just let myself walk and shoot anything and everything that caught my eye. I found the reflections in the canal waters really beautiful and started making photographs - mostly figurative images, watery reversals of the many white bridges that intersect the walkways, the towering palm trees, the people walking by. They appeared like impressionistic watercolors and it made me happy to be outside in that quiet little enclave of peace and nature hidden inside Silicon Beach. I liked those images enough to continue going back.  

It wasn’t until I starting noticing the full-frame abstractions on my computer screen that the WATERCOLORS project began. I saw things that I hadn’t in my viewfinder, and discovered that by shooting more instinctually I was creating work I found more interesting. That’s when I began to see my photographs more like abstract paintings - and I focused on that approach going forward.

Do you often work with reflections or was this approach inspired by the environment?

I’ve always been more fascinated with people in social situations, how they each inhabit a given space together, than abstract or landscape driven photography. This work came out of my need to reconnect with the natural world and not think too much. What I saw in the water was just an unexpected gift.

The reflections on the Canals are created by wind and tides and ambient light, so you never really know what you’re going to encounter, and that reinforced my inability to control the situation. The source of all the reflections are inherently the same since they’re from the homes, buildings, gardens that line the walkways. But, they’re constantly morphing in shape and color given environmental factors. The lesson for me was to stay open. There was one day when the wind was so high that I thought nothing was achievable. But that day ended up yielding a number of interesting frames, including the image I call WINGS which is at LOCAL now.

How have these images provided you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of this landscape? 

I think good landscape photography is incredibly difficult. Taking a photo of a sunset is relatively easy, but in most cases I believe the viewer is reacting to the splendor of nature rather than the artistry of the photographer. To capture how a landscape makes the artist feel, to imbue the absolute beauty of nature with an individual human emotion, that’s not easy. At least not for me. The appreciation and understanding I’ve gleaned from this work is more about the origins of perception - how and why we all see things differently. I perceive very distinct scenes or images within these photos - rather than strictly water reflections. Other people often see very different things - which makes me happy.  I try and leave them open to interpretation - and encourage people to reposition them vertically and horizontally to their liking.

 

As a self-taught artist, what can you tell other individuals who would like to pursue an artistic endeavor OR career?

I do believe that everyone should have some kind of creative pursuit - no matter what it is - something that can never be mastered but always improved upon and made more and more your own. You learn a tremendous amount about yourself in the process, and it will always provide you with something to work at, hopefully share with others, and get joy from. I hope I’m still working at something creative when I’m old and blind.

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If I can offer any advice (and I’m not sure that I or any other artist is really qualified) it’s that we all experience the world differently, uniquely - and that’s what you want your art to reflect. And I believe that can only be achieved by process, time, and personal honesty, not strictly technical savvy. Craft - as applied to digital photography - can be crucial to expanding your visual vocabulary, but if you don’t dig into your own creative process it can override your vision. I try not to seek validation from others, which is hard. I look for something that speaks to me, perhaps even for me, and keep at it. If I’m really onto something, and keep at it, it will evolve. And hopefully it will eventually start to disappoint me. That discomfort is the challenge you need to move forward. I like to think of this period as “growing pains” - both in the creative process and in life in general.

 

What other artists within or outside your primary discipline do you look to for inspiration?

In my earliest days my photographic muses were people like Helen Levitt, Louis Faurer, Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson, Bresson…the usual street art suspects. Later, I discovered the magic of color documentary when I found a book by William Albert Allard in a bookshop in NYC near Houston. Blew my mind. I then sought out the work of the great National Geographic shooters:, Sam Abell, James Nachtwey, Gerd Ludwig, Eugene Richards, Alex Webb. Now I’m more drawn to the artists, mostly painters, of an earlier time. The European Impressionists and Beat Contemporaries. Odilon Redon always take my breath away.  As does Erik Satie.  And kids. Watch for how little children see the world - and look for that perspective.

 

What's next? What other projects are you currently working on?

Right now I’m focused mostly on getting this work out into the world a bit more. I’ve really just started showing it.

I’ve also started playing around with some light abstractions taken from the windows of my mother’s bedroom. She’s 92 now, and sleeps a great deal; her room is often dark but for the light creeping through the windows. It’s a tricky subject, but it feels like there’s something there.  Maybe not.  We’ll see.

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Any other thoughts to share?

There is beauty all around us in every day things. Spend some quiet time in nature; it can nourish you in ways that nothing else can.  And, thank you for this opportunity. I hope your customers find some pleasure in the work.

Thank you!

See more of Dolores’ work at https://www.doloreslusitana.com/about/

 

 

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Local Talk - Interview with Local artist and Classic Man Barber Mike Lasovski

You are a barber by trade, and an amazing one - when did you know that you had a desire to capture and share your photography?
 

I've always had a passion for art, and I've been drawing ever since I can remember. I love fashion and music, and used to do styling for short films and sing in a progressive metal band.   Photography is just another creative outlet for me. I've been perusing it  for the last 3 years.    


In this age of cameras built into cellphones, do you take pictures on your phone or do you use an actual camera? If so, what type of camera?

I take pictures with my phone and make it more artistic by shooting different angles and using  effects. I use what I have for now, but would love to buy a camera in the near future to get better quality and details. 

Do you plan for time to go out and capture images or do you take photos here and there as you go throughout your day?

It is more about "capturing the moment" for me. If I see something interesting in the aspect of colors and angles or anything that I think would look good as a photograph, I'll stop what I'm doing and take a picture.

How does you full time job as a barber translate into your approach for taking photos? I know from hanging photos with you at the shop that your eye is quite good!

I am a perfectionist at my job as a barber and my clients know that! I don't like to leave out anything for the chance, and risk a haircut coming out not looking good. I see everything, every piece of hair. I treat my artwork the same way.

You are originally from Israel, how does your childhood in a different country inspire your approach to photography?

I grew up in the city of Jerusalem, a place that is very rich in history and culture. Jerusalem has spiritual energy, and that by itself inspires any creative individual. Also, growing up, I was surrounded by artistic friends (who later became musicians, fashion designers, photographers etc). Being surrounded by such people pushed me to develop the creative side in me as well. Photography has a universal language with which I can express myself.

What's next for building your photography craft? Are you seeking any type of arts + photography education?

I would love to take some additional photography classes and develop the skill further. I'd like to do more exhibits in the near future and reach a wider audience.

Tell us a bit about the photos you have shared with us @ Local.

The photographs reflect how I see the American culture. It is about my life as a barber. The pictures I have chosen have a dark vibe, capturing the spirit of Halloween 

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follow Mike on Instagram @mikey_thebaba.barber

Local Talk - Q+A with Photographer Scarlett Givner

At what age did you learn that you had an interest in taking photos?

I am 13 years old now and I started taking pictures when I was 11.  The first photo I took from this series was P.M.A.R. in New York City.  It was taken in an alley way. The image of the stick figure against the brick just pulled me in

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In this age of cameras built into cellphones, do you take pictures on your phone or do you use an actual camera? If so, what type of camera?

I take pictures on my phone because I never had access to a camera and its easier to just press one button- I don’t need to fiddle with a lot of confusing buttons on a typical camera.

 

Do you plan for time to go out and capture images or do you take photos here and there as you go throughout your day?

I just take my phone with me and when my camera is on I see the world differently.  I see things that look like they have a story. I feel a pull to take a photo when I see the right image

 

Are there any particular photographers that you look to for inspiration?

I love photos from National Geographic and I find that inspiring.

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How important is it for your family to support your craft?

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They love my pictures and are very supportive of me. Most of my family members have at least one of my photos in their house.  I think they choose the photos they like based on their personality.  For example, my grandma likes really bright colors and is into fashion so she really likes ‘Shoe Repair’.

 

What's next for building your photography craft? Are you seeking any type of arts + photography education?

I want to be an actor when I grow up but photography comes second so I may want to pursue it later on.  I will continue taking photos when I feel  inspired.

 

Tell us a bit about the photos you have shared with us @ Local.

My collection is called Steam Punk Rainbow because sometimes when I take photos I crank up the lighting in chrome and also use the noir effect.  I like to take pictures of buildings, alleyways  pipes, statues and it reminded me of steampunk.  I like taking pictures using angles because I feel they are more unique that way.  It’s pretty cool to walk into Local and see my art on the wall.  Now people can enjoy my pictures as much as my family does.

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Local Talk: Interview with Local featured artist Michael Stahl

Michael, we have known you for 14 years! I know this as you photographed our daughter when she was first born. What struck me then as it does now is that you absolutely love your craft. The initial consultation, the photography, the bracketing of images - the entire process. What is it about this discipline that keeps you so motivated?

Well, I've always been a darkroom rat.  I spent countless hours with my film and trays and chemicals making black and white prints.  So I just love the process of creating images.  I find it easy to stay motivated because every session is different and is nuanced in some way.  The important thing for me during a session is making it feel like the camera disappears.  In most cases that does happen as I strike up a rapport with the person in front of me. That's a special feeling.

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Alright...putting you on the spot - you have photographed countless families in the area, is there one that stands out for any particular reason? 

Nice try. But I cannot say that any ONE family stands out.  We've had memorable moments during session (newborn peeing on a dad, for example).  But we also do have families that we see over the years and it's very rewarding for us to see the children as they grow.  We've been doing this long enough to have toddlers that we've photographed come back in for a high school senior portraits.

 

Having been a photographer for 20+ years, what can you say is the greatest lesson learned thus far?  

Patience!  Of course there are days when our subjects might not be in the best mood for a portrait.  So we try to have a laid back approach in which there is plenty of time for even the most reluctant person to come around and present their true self to me.  

 

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What photographers (past or present) have been meaningful to you and why? Which should we take a moment and explore? 

Richard Avedon--I love the simplicity of his studio portraits.  George Hurrell for his dramatic images of Hollywood stars.  And I own Ansel Adams' series of technical books on creating the black and white print and of course his landscapes just stop you.  Bill Brandt broke a lot of "rules" with his edgy and stark portraits.

 

Montclair has been a geographical focus throughout your work. Why is this town so special for you?  

It's such an eclectic town so we get to meet so many interesting people, which results in interesting portraits.  We also love to do our part to support local organizations. The folks in town have really supported our efforts to help out the Food Pantry and animal rescue organizations.

 

In this world of cameras on a variety of devices, and filters to match any desired mood - how do you continue to articulate the essence of professional photography?  

I think it has to do with having a specific point of view and style.  I am flattered when people tell me that they can recognize our work.  Because style is not an app you can download or something one can copy.  It has to come from within.  But we also have to provide something that one cannot do for themselves.  That's why our focus continues to be well lit studio portraits.   

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Black and white seems to evoke quite a bit of emotion but color obviously has its purpose? How do you toggle between the two and ultimately commit to a particular direction?  

We default to black and white  That has always been my passion.  But color does have its place and we work closely with our clients to determine the direction to take.

 

What advice do you provide for someone considering a career in photography?  

Heed your passion.  Photograph things that are meaningful to you.  Seek out a mentor and look to professional organizations (PPA for example) for guidance and educational opportunities.  And don't forget that you are a businessperson, too.  Value yourself and your work and others will also.

 

Tell us something about photography that only you or a few people know. 

"I'm not photogenic" is BS.  There is something about everyone that is photogenic.

 

What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

Straight, strong drip with a little half and half--early and often!

 

www.portraitsbymichaelstahl.com

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Local Talk: Interview with featured artist Dawn Garrison

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We're excited to have your work at Local! We discovered each other as you have painted for some time but rarely publicly displayed your work. Why us, why now?

I am going to call this ‘where serendipity and opportunity crossed paths’. John Lennon is better known for his version but in 1957 Allen Saunders wrote ‘life is what happens to us while we are making other plans’. For me it is an apt description of the last 25 years. Long story short, after much prodding by several friends I began opening myself to opportunity and soon after met you. This sampling of my work at Local is one small step.

 

Which past or existing painters have had specific meaning for you, which have really stimulated your passion for this art?

I appreciate various artists and painters of many styles and most stimulate me on some level. I love impressionism but my natural tendency is realism. I am captivated by the works of Angus Wilson, R. Mike Nichols and Brienne M. Brown.

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Tell us about your subject matter. How do you choose where to focus your creative energy?

I could get lost in this question but if I allow myself I would write a novella so I’ll answer this in more recent context.

For quite a long time all I painted were landscapes and gardens, until one day I was done. Currently I paint animals. I have a great love for creatures so it makes sense they have been my focus. This last year and a half I have mostly been busy painting commissions; primarily dogs and that’s alright by me.

 

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Do you paint during a particular time of day? in a particular space?

I am so fortunate to have a dedicated space on the southeast side of our home. I am surrounded by natural light and an awesome view (when I look up – lol). Painting during the day works best for me.

 

There's a local Montclair element in one of your paintings. How did you come to live in the area and why is Montclair important to you?

I was born in Montclair and raised in the area and met my husband in high school. We have always felt family was important and wanted to stay close; plus this area has so much to offer no matter what your interests are.

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Of all of your work, is there a particular piece that has the most meaning for you?

I painted a self-portrait during a difficult time in my life. The style totally deviated from anything I had done before or since. I think a psychologist might have fun interpreting it today.

 

Tell us something about painting that very few or no one knows.

I can only speak for myself, but on occasion you have to remember to breathe.

 

What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

I do love a cup of herbal tea but when I first sat at your counter sipping a cup of drip coffee it transported me to cafes in Europe. Exceptional.

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Local Talk: 10 Questions with Montclair photographer Andrew Wander

Your book, Stately Homes of Montclair’ represents a significant amount of exploration throughout Montclair and its homes - how and why did you initiate this project?

I decided on "Stately Homes of Montclair" because as I settled in this town back in 2007, I viewed history in it's architectural brilliance, it's European design and realized that this project had never been attempted.

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Why Montclair as your geographic focus?

Montclair is noted to most as a culinary mecca.  Now, it's more than just a place to grab a bite.

 

How did you start your career in  photography?
 

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I don't have a career in photography.  It is a part time vocation. I videotaped weddings and events from 1983 until 2007. My main vocation is providing legal video services to lawyers. Depositions, courtroom playbacks and site inspections are my thing.

 

How do you feel about how photography has evolved over the years with the introduction of social media and the ubiquitous nature of cameras?

Photography has come along way (see my website: www.andywander.com).  As digital has taken over, it's another world for better or worse it is here to stay.

 

How did your project mindset change from when you kicked off the project to its completion?
 

The project changed a great deal from the on-set.  I started collecting photos throughout town. Then I decided on 3 essential chapters; Exteriors, Interiors and added: Backyards, Courtyards, and Rose gardens.

 

What was the biggest surprise in this process?

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I found a Rose garden based on an English Rose garden.  When I went to cover it, the owner answered the front with shovel in hand.

 

Was there one particular home that meant more to you than the others?

Sure...that is a difficult question.  Come to my April 29th lecture at Van Vleck and I will present the top 3.

 

No one really needs a home save the scale of most of these structures and we’re seeing a movement as of late towards micro-living with just the essentials. Do you think theses types of structures endure?
 

Yes they do endure...The rich will always have a place in our society.  The mass and spaciousness provide an environment for any artist for reflection and creativity. Try living in a residence shown in my book. Oh, you would need about $16,000. per month but, the experience
would be priceless.

 

Tell us something about Montclair that only you or a few people know.

There is a home here that belonged to an arms dealer.  He was
ready to move in to his "stately home" but, the war ended and he never did.

 

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What’s your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

My favorite tea is earl grey.  Typhoo is worth every penny.