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Lucia Engstrom

DIFFUSED LANDSCAPES: SAGG POND

I grew up in a large old Victorian house in San Francisco where every room paid homage to a color in the rainbow. It was a bright rambling house full of light, emotion, warmth and inspiration. Every room told a story, every room was like a jewel glowing in magentas, emerald greens, blues, yellows and violets. These colors and light were woven into the tapestry of my every day life- a life a see through a Technicolor lens.

A graduate of Georgetown University, I studied Art History and Spanish Literature all the while recording my college years with my Nikon 35 mm camera. With a love of taking pictures and telling stories, I moved to NYC after graduation and worked for 12 years as a director/producer for MTV’s True Life Documentary series. With a film camera in hand, I strove to capture the emotion, feeling and story of each colorful character. There was no fancy lighting, just verite film making where we relied on natural light, the emotion of our characters and the atmosphere of their lives to tell the story in a raw, unadulterated way. I told stories where sometimes the silence and stillness of a moment elicited the most powerful emotion.

In 2007, with several awards and nominations under my belt, I left the world of documentary film making and dove into still photography. With a two-year-old boy and another on the way my obsession for documenting every moment of their lives quickly became my passion. I loved coaxing a giggle, a wink, a look, out of my boys and other children and families I photographed.

During long summers on the South Fork and every weekend throughout the year, my camera rarely leaves my hands. Capturing the sun as it flooded the lawn enveloping the children, putting their towheads aglow, following the long blue afternoon shadows and the hazy humid air of a setting sun. The sky was always a colorful backdrop to the children’s silhouettes playing on the grass, in the water and near the dunes. The light out on Long Island is like nothing else. There is something about the way the cool ocean air hits the hot golden wheat fields that creates colors which are magical, sparkling- almost tangible. It’s these colors and moments I try to capture with my series of Diffused Landscapes on Sagg Pond. They are abstract views of a familiar scene: a glowing jewel like sun setting behind the dunes on a warm summer night.

My recent series, “Diffused Landscapes: Sagg Pond,” was photographed on Sagg Main beach near the dunes that were washed away by hurricane Sandy. Taken at dusk, days and weeks apart, using various focal lengths and exposures, these images capture the glow on Sagg Pond as the sun dips below the horizon. The light at this time is capricious. It can be bold and bright or subtle and cool, and it is ever changing. Capturing the light in this transitive moment and further enhancing, layering and distorting the colors digitally has resulted in glowing, abstract and atmospheric image. These photographs have a painterly quality exuding warmth, emotion and a sense of movement.