Steve Gravano – Featured Artist

My love for photography started in my early years of high school. You could always find me in the darkroom making prints and listening to music. It was actually music that turned me on to photography. I was working at Record World, one of the great music retailers in the greater New York area when I came across a record label, CTI Records, that had the most outrageous color photographs as covers.

Creed Taylor, the founder of CTI, was a world class producer and had a vision of a jazz label that didn’t stop with the music, he wanted covers that stood apart from the rest of records. All of CTI albums had gatefold covers that opened and included the contact information for purchasing a copy of the cover photo.  I became a fan of jazz and photography. It was a love of the covers that made me want to be a photographer, especially the Pete Turner covers.

I worked in a small mom and pop camera store in Baldwin, NY. Fred and Greta, the owners of Cam-Ra Fair were awesome people that treated me as family. They had a mini lab, video transfer service and retail camera store, I added a full service custom black and white lab. They allowed me to freelance out of the store which led to doing some political photography for Norman J. Levy, the New York State Senator from the 8th District at that time.

A few evenings a week I taught darkroom photography at Hofstra in the continuing education division. It helped me keep current with changes in photography. I learned a lot about art and exhibiting photography from the faculty in my twelve years at Hofstra.

I was hired by the Town of Babylon in 1994 as the part time Town Photographer. The first ten years, we used black and white film and processed and printed everything in house for all the needs of the town. My work with the town has been very diverse, from portraits to landscapes, copy work and documentary. Over the years I even made some wedding photos. A number of years ago a young soldier and his fiancé came in and explained that he was leaving for the Middle East and they wanted to be married before he shipped out. Carol Quirk, the Town Clerk at the time, was going to marry them and summoned for me to record the moment for the young couple. Last Valentine’s Day, current Town Clerk, Gerry Compitello, offered wedding services in a few different languages. I made photos of the happy newlyweds on their special day. Almost every day is different, and there’s no telling what the day will bring.

My favorite thing about my occupation as a photographer, is that it also is my relaxation. Whenever I need to relax, I grab a camera and head to the beach, the woods or the village. I find images everywhere. If I walk with a macro lens, I look at things up close. If I take a wide angle lens and look at life from that perspective.

In closing, photography has always been the way I express myself the best.  It can be bold or quiet and sometime both in the same image. Making a photo gives me the opportunity to share the humanity of a moment from my perspective. Visit my site at steve-gravano.pixels.com and enjoy my vision of the world that surrounds us, maybe there’s something there for you to enjoy on your wall.

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