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April 3rd, 2015

Photographer Spotlight: Jim LaSala

Posted by liveBooks

Jim LaSala is a multi-award winning fine art photographer and Moab Master who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He lived in Staten Island for several years and currently resides in Flemington, New Jersey. He opened “Strike a Pose Photography Studio” in 1990 specializing in Fine Art Photography, Portraiture, and Electronic Imaging. Jim is presently a managing partner for “Xact Studios” in Hillsborough, New Jersey. As well as still life and fine art images, Jim has been passionately involved in documenting the people and their lives in Haiti. We had the pleasure of chatting with Jim to hear more about his work, inspirations, and vast experiences across the globe.

Q: What’s your inspiration?

JL: My parents are my inspiration, and it started a long time ago. We were less fortunate than many and growing up with deaf parents forced me to mature somewhat faster than some other children my age. They truly moticated me to see past prejudices and being held back from the things that you truly want in life.

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“Eyes on Haiti” – Jim LaSala

Q: What role does photography play in your life?

JL: Communication. My photography is an extension of my feelings and thoughts and it has been very special to me.

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“Blind Faith” – Jim LaSala

Q: Who are some sources of artistic influence for you?

JL: The first person that comes to mind is the incredible works of George Hurrell, “photographer to the stars.” His control of hot lights and dynamic portraiture has helped me understand the importance of capturing full tones and controlling contrast. Also Ansel Adams, who was a master of pre-visualization. I’ve often been asked how I end up with some of the images that I have produced and I believe it has a lot to do with understanding the story you are trying to share. What made you stop to photograph a certain situation? Was it color, texture, or maybe lack of color? Try to bring out just what it was that caught your interest. Don’t just settle for mediocre but keep your thoughts and ideas flowing. And lastly, Sally Mann. I love her storytelling abilities as well as her black and white treatment.

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“Profound Silence” – Jim LaSala

Q: Let’s talk about your work “Hope and Despair.” Can you tell us a little more about this project?


JL: I have been fortunate enough to make six journeys to Haiti along with a non-profit organization that has been documenting the people who are in such need. This image was captured on my last trip (February 2011) while we were staying in Port Au Prince. We stayed in a makeshift commune that houses volunteers from all over the world. Behind this building are many tents that are set up for hundreds of people that lost their homes after the devastating earthquake in 2010 that took over 300,000 lives. It is here that we find children laughing, crying, playing, and surviving. Warm and friendly people is what I experienced. The many faces and eyes that tell a story we could never imagine. I’m blessed to be a photographer so I can tell the story through my images, and many times we forget how important our job is. When we are documenting and relaying our feelings about people, it’s not just about pushing the shutter. It’s about caring and respecting life. The story behind “Hope and Despair” is as follows: while in tent city, I spent time walking among the people, trying to get to know them, and make them feel comfortable. I came upon these two young girls who had been in tent city for about a year. One seemed quite eager to have her photo taken, while the other one was very shy. With some coaxing I was finally able to grab three or four images before I continued on. There are many times when I don’t even realize what I have captured. We become voyeurs while hiding behind our cameras. At times, we even lose our sensitivity while trying to capture the emotions around us. Sometimes, it’s not until I actually get back home and start editing that I become very emotional and affected by what I have captured. It is at this time when reality hits and we can no longer hide behind a piece of equipment and separate ourselves from the world. I’m hoping to continue my story. I’m hoping that my images can in some way help a country so devastated and so in need, yet so proud and grateful, even for the little they possess. I’m so grateful that I can share my story with everyone through my eyes.

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“Sweet Innocence” – Jim LaSala

Jim’s exhibit, “Cuba Revealed,” is currently showing at the Collection Privee Gallery in Wynwood, Miami.

Check out his website to learn more about his fantastic work!

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