Widgets Magazine

Art and the North Fork Landscape: Chatting with Fine Art Photographer Alison Perry

Q: Your photographs of the North Fork are beautiful. What’s your connection to the North Fork? A: Thank you. I was raised in Miller Place, which isn’t the North Fork proper but it is just west a bit. Most of my adult life I’d lived elsewhere- NYC, PA, CA and until last winter, upstate in Nyack, NY. I visited my sister in Riverhead over the holidays, went out early one morning to photograph some farmland at sunrise and fell in love with the quiet, rural, open space.

I’ve wanted to return since my son was young, but work prohibited it. That morning I decided it was time to return to my roots, which I did several months later. There’s something to be said for finding everything you need in life in your own back yard.

Now I work at Gallery Crossing in Peconic and am working to establish myself artistically here. More than anything I’m a visual person.

I’m not sure it can be done here, but it would be terrific to work full time doing what I love -photography - gaining editorial, real estate and architectural assignments and continuing personal artwork. My website includes editorial and real estate photography.

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Q: Being a fine artist is new for you?

A: No, I’m sort of driven to create in one form or another. I come from an artistic family. Painting, illustration and music were presented early on. I became interested in photography as a young adult because I love to explore the landscape.

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The figure in landscape was my senior painting thesis at SUNY-Purchase.

Q: What inspired your entry into fine art photography?

A: I worked for newspapers in NYC, PA and CA, but while raising my son left that industry, earned a BFA in painting in upstate NY and a Master’s in Library Science.

I earned the Master’s with the idea in mind that I might be able to contribute my varied artistic background knowledge to my community’s public library, in Nyack, where I lived for a 16 years, near the Hudson River. While working in the library I designed and wrote two bibliographies – one on the Hudson River School painters and one on Edward Hopper. Both provided the impetus to re-examine my artistic inclinations.

.Q: Does your work have a particular focus? I realize your pictures are outdoors, natural scenes. But within that, is there anything in particular you try to photograph?

A: A lot of my imagery has an element of the organic and Surrealism because of light, which I’ve always been drawn to artistically - it intensifies any scene and lends a sense of drama to the landscape and to naturally occurring objects I find there, like rocks and trees, or man made objects like barns and houses or telephone poles in road side scenes.

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An otherwise ordinary place or thing becomes enigmatic - unworldly and surreal, depending on how light and climate can be played into it. I see possibilities everywhere.

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There is a collection of images on my website titled Persistence of Memory. It reflects the types of places and things that hold personal meaning -memories of growing up here. That series contains a lot of enigmatic imagery, but really, a surrealistic edge occurs in the majority of photographs in the various collections on my site - images taken in upstate, NY and along the Hudson River, in NYC and here on the east end.

I’m also drawn to the figure in landscape in both painting and photography and hope to include more of that in time.

Q: What do you most appreciate about the North Fork?

A: The open space and farmland; it reminds me of the prairie. I value the wetlands, the lush summer greenery, the changing seasons and night in rural places. I grew up near the Long Island Sound and spent a lot of time at the beach, looking at the horizon-the separation of sea and sky, experiencing the changing aquatic life, watching the shore birds, the amazing sunsets, the changing tides and such.

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I also appreciate meeting other people who enjoy these things too and the ways various painters and photographers are documenting those things here.

To see Alison's growing online collection, visit her website. Here's just a few more for now: