The Art Alcove at the Freeport Recreation center can be overlooked by many walking through the main lobby, but this month, Freeporters are stopping by to take a look at various pieces of “Street Art.” Artist Joseph Constantino’s collection of modern day city photography is on display for all in an exhibit he calls “Ebbs and Flows”.
For over 50 years, Constantino has been photographing what interests him the most-people.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Constantino credits the borough for his inspiration throughout his career as a photographer. He said he looks forward to taking candid pictures of subjects in different situations, in order to capture a mood untouched by him.
“Street photography is usually when a photographer takes a picture of the subject, and the subject is not aware that the photo is being taken,” Constantino said. “In street photography, the pictures should tell a story; and in this particular case, all of them tell a story.”
The 12 photo series features six monochrome (black and white) photographs and six color photographs, filled with a number of subjects caught “off-guard”, showing the diverse demographic of the city. The pieces vary in the dates they were taken, and Constantino said it can be tricky to get the perfect shot.
“The picture of the boys looking down the ice, I’d say that’s one of my favorite pictures,” Constantino said of the exhibit. “It was taken a long time ago, and there were a lot of different things happening that day on the ice, and I was able to take a lot of shots. Sometimes you get lucky.”
The “What’s down there” photograph won first place awards in contests in 2009 and 2014, and is displayed at museums and galleries throughout the country. His photos are featured in 15 permanent collections in museums across the nation, and two of his photos will additionally be displayed locally in the Heckscher Museum in Huntington this coming August.
Photography is only one of the many passions Constantino holds, as he was the music director in the Connetquot School District in Suffolk County. He added that he retired at the first chance he had, in order to concentrate on photography full time.
“You could call it a hobby, but it’s more than that,” Constantino said. “Having my work exhibited is one of my greatest joys.”
Constantino is currently taking a liking to architectural photography, the art of photographing buildings and intricate structures, as well as infrared photography, a type that uses filters sensitive to infrared light.
As a member of the Huntington Camera Club, Constantino is dedicated to informing others about different photography techniques, as well as encouraging those who wish to pursue photography, whether it be for hobby of professionally.
“When you see a subject, don’t take one picture and walk away, take it at all possible angles, so that you have a choice of a picture that comes out the best in a particular series,” he said. “Just be sure to take as many pictures as you can.”