Q: How did you come to the North Fork? A: I’m a commercial aerial photographer by trade, with the majority of my clients based on the East End. When I first started traveling for business to the North Fork, I just fell in love with the area aesthetically as it was quaint, uncongested and lovely. Folks I met here were warm and welcoming.
There was also a wonderful artistic community out here that was not present where I lived back in Nassau County. Since I longed for an artistic community, I felt it a natural progression to move here.
Q: What do you mean about the artistic community here?
A: From Merrick, I would have to travel a bit up to Roslyn or Huntington for the museums and galleries in Nassau County. We had great beaches, but no art scene on the south shore. Out here, there are gallery walks in Greenport, area artists open their studios to the public, and we have easy access to the Hamptons’ art scene as well. So this area is a draw for many creatives.
Q: Have you always been an artist/photographer, or is it something you shifted into over time?
A: I have always been an artist, specifically interested in photography, thanks to my parents. They believed art was very important and often brought us to museums and galleries when we were kids. I have somewhat of a large family and each of my siblings has creative and artistic tendencies and my parents fostered that creativity in us. I have been photographing since I was 10 when my Dad gave me my first camera.
I did shift away for awhile when I was pursuing a career in marketing, however, photography was always present, especially with some related commercial jobs in marketing. Later I shifted back to photography full time for good. Now, I believe my marketing background is assisting in my business.
Q: Is there something you're particularly attracted to photographing?/A particular type of photography you enjoy?
I have a bit of an abstract eye so I enjoy pulling elements from a scene. I photograph everything, however, for the past few years I’ve been concentrating on a solid series of works called “Aerial Observations.” Through aerial photography, photographing by helicopter, I have been able to abstract from diverse landscapes, various colors, textures, and shades of our waters and assorted formations of natural structures to create my images.
My works present a unique perspective for the viewer to see their everyday panoramas a bit differently and with more appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us that can, unfortunately, be taken for granted. Many people don’t even guess these images are photographs as they have a painterly look.
Q: When did you open your gallery? Why a gallery?
A: The Gallery opened in 2013, and this will be our third season. As I mentioned earlier, the North Fork has a great artistic community. There were galleries here that gave opportunities for artists to exhibit and get promoted, but none specifically for photography.
We know so many amazingly creative photographers and photographic artists that it was essential to do something to give them a better opportunity to get promoted, to give the public a chance to see their work. So, we opened the Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery in a restored, historic building.
We are the only photography gallery on the North Fork, adding another artistic element to this creative community.
Q: Is there a particular type of photography that you like to exhibit?
A: We are interested in exhibiting contemporary photographic images. As much as we love the representational scenery of the area like the vineyards, beaches and boats, and still photograph those elements regularly, those features have been shown much out here already. We are concentrating on other subject matter, elements, styles, methods, and procedures that create a varied base of fine art photography to which folks may not yet have been exposed.
Our new exhibit, “Spring Into Collecting” features an eclectic mix of new black & white and color photographs from ten regional award-winning photographers. Each photograph has a unique artistic style, and the photos’ subject matter and printing varies widely. Visitors can see original photographic works on aluminum, wood, and a variety of fine art papers.
To get a sense of the range of works on exhibit, consider “Abandoned Acres” by artist, Carolyn Conrad of Sag Harbor. Carolyn constructs her rural scenes from clay and wood then photographs them using natural light creating a minimalistic scene with dramatic highlights and shadows.
Then look at Jim Sabiston’s beautiful textures and details of “The Lotus Pond II” which are vividly present because Jim hand-prepares his Italian fine art papers to retain the very fine details of his images.
Last, enjoy the rugged-edged image, “Libby’s Buick,” which Harold Naideau printed on aluminum dibond to preserve the metallic feel from ages of the rusted car.
Framed, matted, limited edition and unique pieces will be available for purchase, perfect for the fine art photography admirer or collector.
Q: So you have a new exhibit opening this weekend. Is there a reception?
A: Yes! People should come and meet the artists, and discuss their works over wine and light bites. But the reception isn’t this coming weekend, it’s the following weekend, Saturday May 9th from 6-8 pm.
While we usually have a gallery talk by the artist, because this is a group exhibit, we haven’t yet scheduled one. The exhibit will be on view through June 6th.
Q: Some of your exhibits are benefits for charity. Are there any causes that particularly move you?
A: Most charitable causes move me, however, since I moved to the East End, and since I love the area, I felt it important to work with local organizations. Some of the organizations that the Gallery has worked with include the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Marine Program, The Retreat Domestic Violence Agency, CAST Southold Town, North Fork Parish Outreach, WPPB Peconic Public Broadcasting, and the Cutchogue Historical Society. We will continue to work with more area organizations that have missions in which we believe.
Personally, I have volunteered time as a (past) Board Member of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce, North Fork Promotion Council, WPPB Community Advisory Board, and have given service to East End Arts.
Q: When is your gallery open?
A: The Gallery is currently open Thursday through Sunday 11am – 5pm or by appointment on other days. Over the summer we will be open until 6.
Q: Is the North Fork reflected in your art?
A: The North Fork and the East End are definitely reflected in my art. I love the constant changes – seasonal and environmental - that happen here, especially in the colors of bodies of water and patterns in the land areas. I love how the daily light changes and then alters the areas that I photograph, adding varied textures and moods to my work.
Q: What do you enjoy most about living and working on the North Fork?
A: I truly enjoy the acceptance the Gallery has received from the North Fork community, and appreciate that every week we meet new folks in the Gallery who enjoy what we have brought to the community. It’s a wonderful cycle and we look forward to continuing with new creativity each year.
Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery 25425 Main Road, Cutchogue NY 11935 631-734-8545