Tag Archives: Fort Tilden

Rockaway photographers to showcase work at Fort Tilden

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of John Grillo

Photographers John Grillo and Michael Deutsch have known each other for 25 years, grew up in Rockaway and both began their careers in film photography. A new exhibit, however, is aiming to showcase their differing perspectives.

Double Vision: Two Photographers, Two Perspectives,” will open at Fort Tilden’s Studio 6 on Sept. 19. It is presented by the Rockaway Artists Alliance, a nonprofit started in 1994 whose mission is to engage Rockaway youth in arts and cultural activities.

Both photographers use the High Dynamic Range (HDR) process to capture landscapes around Queens and different parts of the world. The process, according to Grillo, allows for a photograph with increased “depth and luminosity.”

Grillo and Deutsch take several photographs of their subject on a tripod. The artists then combine a photograph that is underexposed, overexposed and the correct exposure to complete the process.

“The goal was to take pictures together yet to come up with different solutions of how to treat the lighting, the scenery, sometimes standing in the same exact spot and coming up with completely different pictures,” Grillo said.

Grillo and Deutsch have been supporters of the Rockaway Artists Alliance for many years and this is Grillo’s 17th year as a board member. To commemorate the organization’s 20th anniversary, the photographers wanted to showcase what they have been working on for the past year.

At first glance, the photographs’ sharp colors look like they have been heavily edited but Grillo promises that he does not use Photoshop for any of his projects.

“Some people look at our pictures and say, ‘Well they’re Photoshopped’ but actually I never use Photoshop. I don’t know how to use Photoshop,” Grillo said.

Photo courtesy of Michael Deutsch

Photo courtesy of Michael Deutsch

Photographers started using a process similar to HDR 100 years ago, Grillo said. When film and glass plates were primarily used to take photographs, artists would take several photos and “sandwich them together” to add flourishes to their subject. If someone took a photo of the Grand Canyon but there were no clouds in the sky, an artist could snap a separate photograph and add it to the original.

Grillo and Deutsch are currently in the process of putting together the exhibit, where 50 of their photographs from around Queens and New York City will hang. Grillo is excited to highlight their work and to show people the capabilities of digital technology. The artists drew inspiration from Akira Kurosawa’s film “Rashomon,” where a crime witnessed by four people is described in four contradicting ways.

“We’re hanging the show and I think it’s outstanding to tell you the truth. I think the pictures are something people will enjoy. Most of them are Queens and they’re from around the city,” Grillo said. “I think this show talks to that even though we both photograph sort of similarly and we’re both from Queens and we’re both similar, we still saw different things and different ways to photograph the same exact scene.”

The exhibit will be open on weekends from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 from noon to 5 p.m. The opening reception will be held on Sept. 20.


Show still goes on for Sandy-damaged Rockaway Theatre Company

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Susan Jasper/Rockaway Theatre Company

The Rockaway Theatre Company (RTC) was two weeks away from its production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” when Sandy devastated the peninsula.

RTC’s home, the Post Theatre in Fort Tilden, was destroyed, and the troupe has still not been able to get back in to start repairs.

The facility, rehabilitated only 15 years ago, now needs a new roof. The stage may have to be replaced. The entire building also requires a significant amount of mold remediation. Props and sets for the production were washed away.

In short, production, and the company’s entire season, was shut down indefinitely.

Enter Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach.

Also damaged by flooding, the parish has become a temporary home for the theatre company, and organizers say the show will go on, with a downsized production and later start date.

“We’re losing our minds,” said Susan Jasper, production manager for the Rockaway Theatre Company. “But we’re coming up with interesting, unique ideas for making this work, and hopefully it’s going to work.”

The parish had been trying to revive a theatre group of its own, which disbanded about 10 years ago. When the school’s music teacher spoke with the Rockaway company’s musical director, a match was made and the parish extended an invitation for the company to move its production north to Howard Beach.

That was only two weeks ago, and Jasper says thing have taken off since then as producers face a tight deadline. As they recast for some roles, existing cast members have gotten back to rehearsals with just more than a month before the curtain rises.

Jasper and the rest of the crew now face the task of reducing the show from that of a full-size theater to a comparatively smaller venue, which does not have the needed wing size for a large cast. Props and sets will have to be rebuilt on a smaller scale as well.

Because so many people were displaced by the storm, Jasper said much of the cast had either been preoccupied by rebuilding, or had committed to other projects. Producers will recast new actors for some parts, and hold auditions for Our Lady of Grace students for the large children’s choir attached to the show.

“Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” will run the first two weekends of March. If the production is a success, she said, the RTC will bring the show to St. Francis de Sales in Rockaway.

Revenue from the production, normally used to help upgrade the Fort Tilden theater, will also go to helping Our Lady of Grace rebuild, Jasper said.

Gateway National Park has yet to tell the RTC when it can begin rebuilding the theater they inherited a decade-and-a-half ago.

Jasper said the little league that plays in Fort Tilden will be allowed back in this spring, and hopes the company will be allowed back in around the same time.