Nexus of 12: Students Take Over The Steinberg

Please join us for: Nexus of 12,  a culmination of several of Long Island’s upcoming and established artists—featuring an array of artwork exploring the depths of human behavior, the essence of life, nature and beyond. The exhibition will be featuring the graduating MFA artists from LIU Post and will be on exhibit from April 11, 2016-May 6, 2016 at the Steinberg Museum of Art. Opening Reception will take place on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from 5:00pm-8:00pm.   Nexus_of_12

The exhibition will feature over 40 works, varying in a wide array of media and visual language—reflecting of the artist’s backgrounds, cultures and experience both in and beyond the classroom. This particular graduating class has exhibited together in several venues, including Studio 5404 in Massapequa as well as the Ripe Gallery in Huntington.  As in past years, these students will also have their work on exhibit at the SIA Gallery in Chelsea, New York, for a one week exhibition.

We hope to see you there!

Epiphany in Mexican Muralism

As many of you know, last year I, Carrie-Anne, decided to go back to school for my Masters in Fine Arts degree. This has always been a personal goal of mine and with a little positive energy, prayer, and much help from the Veterans Administration–it came knocking at my door. In the Spring of 2014, I began attending Long Island University for my MFA in studio art with a concentration in photography. It has been an absolutely amazing ride!

My goal for going back to school, was not only to work with and be around other photographers, but to also work with and be around other artists with similar passions; it was to learn things that I had never explored before – ceramics, painting, print making. To see photography in a different way, to learn about myself and the deliberate choices that I sometimes unconsciously make in my art work.

What I am working on now-

In the Spring of 2015, I took my last required Art History course. I had already taken History of Photography 1 and 2, and in my undergrad I had taken art history in the Rococo, Renaissance and Medieval periods. So when I saw Mexican Muralism, taught by Niria E. Leyva-Gutiérrez Ph.D as an option for my graduate studies, I immediately took it. It is now, and will probably always be, the hardest Art history course I have taken to date. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I not only had to learn the art that was coming out of Mexico, I had to learn the history of Mexico. I mean of course I did! How can you study Mexican Muralism and not know the history of Mexico? I mean art imitates life does it not?

I will say, we were so incredibly blessed with an amazing Professor who was so passionate about the subject. In class, we studied “Los Tres Grandes,” The three BIG ones – Diego, Siqueros, and Orozco. Of course, with Diego, we studied the amazing Frida Coelho. I struggled a bit. I felt like I was studying and reading all of the time. By the second week of class, more than 5 people had dropped out.

I am really glad I stuck it out. It inspired me and led me to one of my current, in progress, bodies of work.

First, let me explain the circumstances of the night that it came about:

Many of you who know me, know that I tend to be a bit OCD. When I enter a room, I like to stand in a certain place, be in a certain area, and in a class, I like to sit on a certain side and in a certain place as well. I generally like an area where I can see the whole room and where it is not too terribly congested. On one particular day, I had come to class about 10 minutes late. When I entered the room, not only was my seat taken, but every seat in that general area of the classroom had been taken! Annoyed and a bit disheveled, I reluctantly found a chair on the other side of the classroom, behind two girls who always chatted throughout the entire class, both of which mostly surfed the internet looking for clothes and such.

Annoyed, I sat down and kept my hat on, pulled down to just above my eyes. This is how I block people out. Niria was handing back out midterm exams, 3 essay questions. I got an A-. It was then that even she noticed me in my discomfort on the “wrong side” of the room. We chuckled and she began her lesson.

David Alfaro Siqueiros_Proletarian Victim_1933

David Alfaro Siqueiros_Proletarian Victim_1933

On this day we would be discussing David Alfaro Siqueiros. As she began her lecture and going through his work, I found myself sketching. At first, just a few notes, but then I began to feverishly sketch out proposed studio lighting, model ideas, and names and dates of certain Siqueiros pieces. I became so incredibly inspired by her talk, by this class, and by the work of Siqueiros. I thought to myself: these would really look great in studio. As many of you know, once upon a time I was a pretty accomplished designer. I think that it was because of that era of my life that I now choose to use as minimal Photoshop as possible in my photography.

I believe that there is a certain level of knowledge and skill attained when one can come to a place where they strive to first get it “right” in camera. So when I am in post-process of my images (in the “editing phase”) I will, most of the time, only do in Lightroom, what I would be able to do in a traditional darkroom. Usually, there is no photoshop involved. And these next 4 or 5 pieces would involve tricky lighting and body makeup.

Every artist should have a network of really good friends, with different talents, who love to work on something creative… just for the sake of doing it. Art for Arts sake. I am blessed with a nice network of other creatives, makeup artists, other photographers, models, etc. My makeup artist was the first call. Now I do work with quite a few makeup artists, one or two for my portrait sessions… but I knew this project would require a certain level of special effects make up. I immediately called my very good friend, Grace Vasquez. And like Thomas Hart Benton said when commissioned to create his amazing mural “America Today,” I told Grace that while I could not pay her, I would be able to “finance the eggs.” Anything she needed, airbrush, make up, anything at all, would be provided…. Oh and of course, I would feed her! With that, our deal was made and we set out to create our first piece together, a recreation of Proletarian Victim, 1933, by David Alfaro S David Alfaro Siqueiros, iqueiros. We found a model willing to hold the grueling pose in the nude and we set out to the studio.

Below is the first draft, my notes for fixing some issues, and the final UNEDITED piece. 🙂

Carrie Anne Gonzalez, Proletarian Victim First Draft, 201

Carrie Anne Gonzalez Proletarian Victim Shoot – Notes

Carrie Anne Gonzalez, Proletarian Victim (after David Alfaro Siqueiros, Proletarian Victim, 1933), 2015

Carrie Anne Gonzalez, Proletarian Victim (after David Alfaro Siqueiros, Proletarian Victim, 1933), 2015

Amanda and Jerry

Second shooter, Joseph, and I really enjoy shooting our weddings together. We love being apart of our couple’s big day, and getting to know both them and their families. Amanda and Jerry were no exception. During the months and weeks leading up tp the big day, we really got a chance to bond with them, be it over beers or coffee, many laughs were had. Amanda and Jerry were just as excited to have us photograph their wedding, as we were to shoot it. Guys, it was truly an honor and a blessing. I hope you love your images, and we can’t wait to see you again! Congratulations!

You can view some highlights from their wedding here.

Lets talk about “Available Light Photographers”

We’ve come across many individuals who claim to be “available light photographers,” and we always advise our clients to be on the guard when they hear that. While this may be a bit controversial, I firmly believe there is no such thing.

If we break down the root meaning, photo literally means light. A “photograph” means to make a picture with light, or to paint with light. Therefore, a photographer literally must be the master of light and/or light painting.

If your photographer claims to only use natural light, you should immediately become cautionary. Since a photographer must be the master of light—all light, in all situations—a photographer must know how to manipulate light.

I love natural photography as much as the next—natural light is beautiful and often flattering—but the truth is, you will not have natural light in every situation. As any great photographer will tell you, 75% of photography is trouble-shooting.

Case and point:

We recently had a wedding shoot—we love weddings and were, as always, super excited to get to the venue and scope it out well before start-time. A point of pride for our team is being able to “find the light—“ we love taking amazing portraits and dynamic scenes with natural light shining through windows, skylights, stained glass, etc. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the venue, we were faced with a conundrum—NO WINDOWS—not a single one.

Literally, there were no windows in the entire venue, not even a single skylight in the bridal suite. To make matters worse, there were mirrors—wall to wall, ceiling to floor—everywhere.

We decided that we would shoot our portraits and our bride and groom outside. It was an overcast day in the beautiful Astoria, Queens area of New York and we were sure to get some cool shots with brick walls, or on the water with amazing views of the Triborough (RFK) Bridge in Astoria Park. When we came back upstairs to go outside, there was a downpour. Not your drizzle kind of rain, not the “we can just grab some umbrellas and it’ll still make a cute shot” kind of rain. Nope. Full on monsoon. Our bride made it VERY clear that she was not going out in that – who could blame her

We would have to make our own light.

With 2 cameras, 4 lenses, 4 flashes, and 5 soft boxes for our flashes, we got our game faces on. From bouncing the light off of the mirrored walls and ceilings, to strategically hiding behind our subjects in the mirrors, we were able to really capture some amazing shots. At the end of this work day, we both agreed that this was by far, the MOST challenging shoot EVER.

In the end, photographers must know LIGHT. Period. Available light, natural light, artificial light…. we MUST know it all and know how to work with it, how to manipulate it.

So stay cautionary when you hear “natural light photographer,” because without the knowledge of how to use light, it’s just another person with a really nice camera.

October Family Photo Sessions

October Family Photos

East Northport Fair – October family photo month.

Skipping rocks, laughter, long walks in the park–family portrait sessions are exactly that. Check out our latest video capturing this family’s moments in #LloydHarbor.

Remember, family portraits on large canvas prints make the perfect gift. Book your session today to take advantage of our October special!

Click here or visit our facebook page to view our latest session.

Why I Hate Summer Sunsets

I’m a full time marketer, a full time writer, and Carrie would call me a most-of-the-time critic. I love things that are beautiful, but I really hate cliché, which leads me to this article…sunsets during summer.

Well…I love sunsets and warm weather, especially with a drink on the beach at dusk surrounded by friends and camera in hand. But it’s so cliché! It falls into the category of “everyone is a photographer” because they added a sepia filter to their sunset picture and posted it on Instagram. So to all instagramers—think of something more original! Yes, it’s beautiful, but seriously, google “summer sunset,” is your work really better?

Okay, so you’re capturing your moment. What differentiates that sunset from others? What makes that day stand out? I bet a year from now, you’ll know where you were but not who you were with, what made that day rock or insufferable, and you can’t even remember the date.

To that end, remember that truly great photography doesn’t rest within HDR and editing, it derives from the photographer. Some tips and tricks to help differentiate your landscape shots:

  1. Solid ND filters and polarizing filters still have their place in landscape shots.
  2. Solid neutral density filters reduce the amount of light entering the lens, which extends shutter speeds for long-exposure shots.
  3. Polarizer filters remove reflections from the surface of water and shiny leaves.
  4. Polarizer filters also help boost the contrast between blue skies and white cloud

– T.

The Beauty of Band Shooting

There’s another part of Theresa and Carrie’s lives they haven’t mentioned enough, in my opinion, and that would be me! My name is Catherine Weston and currently I’m interning for the studio in regards to the public relations aspect, and yes, you read that correctly, I’m also Theresa’s younger sister! I’ve worked with both Theresa and Carrie on numerous occasions and I have to admit that working with Carrie Weston Studios has really helped to expand my interest and love of photography. While I do enjoy all different types of photography and I love what the studio has to offer with its unique outlook on weddings, family, etc., I believe that band photography takes the number one spot on my  list of favorite categories because not only is there an aura of excitement and positive energy, but there is also a mixture of passion for the arts that’s hard to find anywhere else…

Excitement is in the air, the lights are low, anticipation is high.

The crowd looks excited and they’re all waiting for the show to start; the equipment is all set to go.

Having the right atmosphere and the proper sound means everything to a band about to perform in front of a live audience, so that’s all they need…right?

Wrong.

New bands need decent marketing—and it’s true, a band won’t get anywhere without good quality recordings and a clean website to display its contact information. So what else is missing?

A photographer!

Photography is one of the key factors in moving a musician/band toward the success that they’ve always dreamed of; how are they going to take the right steps to make it big if there’s nothing to show the world aside from some low-quality demo videos on Youtube? When prospective listeners can see a visual of how hard the band is working and the energy being thrown around on stage or behind the scenes, they become more interested.

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Just this past week, I was doing a shoot for the up and coming band “We Build Tomorrow” as they played a show at the Summer Festival in Potsdam, NY. As I ran, crouched, and climbed on some things I probably shouldn’t have to get the perfect shots, it was one of the more fun shoots I’ve done in my life thus far! The most rewarding feeling isn’t even getting the amazing shot you work so hard to achieve…it isn’t even the gratitude received by the members of the band after the show is over…the real feeling that makes it all worth it at the end of the day is knowing that I helped some talented people gain some really amazing recognition. Throughout the rest of the summer festival there were compliments thrown at the band left and right, but when I got back to my computer and threw those pictures up online for them, the amount of views, “likes,” “favorites,” and “re-tweets” skyrocketed.

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Through the help of this one, single shoot combined with true musical talent, “We Build Tomorrow” is now becoming more popular and they are on their way to recording their first official demo album.

Photography can help achieve many things and not just the expected—it is especially handy in achieving the unexpected too! Shooting for unrecognized bands might just be my favorite thing to do with my camera, and it taught me that through pursuing my own passion and working together with other people involved with different passions, more doors can open and anything can happen.

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* To check out more of my stuff and see how Theresa and Carrie inspired me to pursue my own dreams, feel free to follow me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/CatherineWestonPhotography?ref_type=bookmark

A Refreshing Return to Art

The air is cleaner, the bugs are bigger, the gas is cheaper. I recently engaged in some of the hardest and most stressful things a person can do: moving and starting a new job.

Peace out New York.

My favorite thing about New York (excluding my friends and entire family of course), is the food. The amazing, diverse, high quality, amazing food. But aside from that…I miss nothing. My 30 mile commute here in Richmond is exactly 30 minutes. Compared to my previous 45 minute commute to go 12 miles on the Long Island Expressway, i couldn’t be happier.

Beer is cheaper. People say hello. The biscuits are amazing. It’s funny though, you can take me and Justin out of New York but it’s true—the New York remains in us. Cut me off? You’re still getting a middle finger out of my sunroof. Long lines because the cashier is chatting with the person online? I’m boiling with rage.

But all that being said, I’ve recently picked up a magazine….Southern Bride. Not because I’m interested in becoming a southern bride (yes, it gave Justin a heart attack!!!) but because I wanted to compare the publications from New York to Virginia. The articles were different, and the photography style was different…but of course the structure remains the same.

What does this mean for the studio? It means we’re expanding. It means we travel more, laugh more and I’m a lot less cranky! It means that we’re going to build a new market, one where the market isn’t as saturated and we can take our talents south and continue to thrive and expand in New York.

What does this mean for Carrie and I? More skype calls, road trips and lengthy emails.

What does this mean for me?

Peaceful nights, a positive attitude, a happy heart….

And a refreshed creative outlook on the world.

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I truly forgot how much I missed art.