Ken Taranto was born in New York and grew up in California, where his neighbor introduced him to the art of photography, the craft of printing and the work of Edward Weston and Paul Strand. He studied philosophy at UC Berkeley and the aesthetics of photography with Jeff Wall in Vancouver. While a graduate student at Pratt he interned at ICP and worked in the photo studio at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After completing his M.F.A. his freelance printing business grew into Taranto Labs, a medium sized custom lab known for its quality throughout the theatrical and photographic industries. Since 1986 Ken has made monthly progress photographs for the Lefrak Organization of the Newport development on the Hudson in Jersey City. He ran a photography gallery in Chelsea for eleven years, mounting over 100 exhibitions. Exploration and experimentation in honing technique remains paramount to both his personal, professional and artistic development and his educational commitment.
David Shadi Perez
David Perez, or Shadi, as he is affectionately known, is one of the most compelling photographers of his generation. Known for his ability to capture the spirit of whomever appears before his lens, Shadi’s vision is nothing less than stark, engaging, and consistently provocative. Shadi’s interest in fashion led him to attend The Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue fashion design. He minored in photography and soon realized that the pictures were a more immediate gratification. He began to work for the ad agency Jordan, Taylor & McGrath but he was stifled creatively. Shadi soon shifted his focus and began to work for various fashion photographers. During his stay in Paris, Shadi became inspired listening to the music of Cypress Hill. Shadi’s vision for videos made it into the hands of Cypress Hill and the rest is history. He directed a $10,000 video for Cypress Hill (which was quite a budget then) that had a huge impact in the industry. He soon did another video for a little known band called House of Pain – “Jump Around” – and it became an even bigger hit. Through his travels, Shadi has met a variety of interesting subjects, including creative powerhouses such as Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Bruce Weber, Vincent Gallo, Nigo, Jim Jarmusch, Harmony Korine, Fall Out Boy, Murakami, Pharrel Williams, Chloe Sevigny, and many others. Whatever the medium, Shadi continues to prove that he is truly a creative innovator and a unique talent. Not one to rest on his laurels, Shadi continues to use these diverse mediums to keep him open to new and exciting adventures.
BJ + Richelle Formento
BJ moved to NYC 1999 and assisted Mary Ellen Mark, Hans Neleman, Annie Leibovitz and studied under Eugene Richards and Arnold Newman. Since 2001 he has set out on his own and has shot for numerous magazines and advertising clients as well as continued to mature in his personal work. Richeille worked as an art director and designer within the fashion industry, working for a large umbrella company responsible for visually communicating new season looks on all graphic works and brands like Calvin Klein, Diesel, DKNY and various other independent fashion labels. The two met on a job in 2005 and got married 3 months later. Since then they have started a photo library called Eyecandy Images which is distributed worldwide. They continue to grow and foster their love for photography both in the commercial and fine art world.
In 2002 Mónica Félix entered the University of Puerto Rico, Rìo Piedras Campus and once finished with her B.A. in Communications in 2006, she became formally employed in the world of advertising at Arco. Parallel to her work as an account executive she developed her personal projects, like photography, art videos, theater and photomontages. In 2007, she moved to New York City to study photography at Pratt Institute. The experience opened up the search process of the main themes that Félix explores in her conceptual work. Artists like Annie Leibowitz, Cindy Sherman, Andres Serrano, Gregory Crewdson, David LaChapelle and Fabian Vergara are key references in Félix’s images, who has looked to establish dialogues with their works, as well as stepping back to develop her own commentary from her life experiences. Currently, she works as an independent photographer in New York City and Puerto Rico.
Steve Meyer’s photography reflects the world we live in, whether on a farm, in the city or elsewhere. Aside from his syndication with Getty Images, he is best known for his editorial work with Kiplinger’s Magazine, Town & Country, Metro New York, and Brooklyn Magazine. Steve goes where the world takes him for a good story. He has exhibited his work in galleries in New York, participated in the Harlem Art Project (through Saatchi & Saatchi), been nominated for the Spider Award, and mentioned in Digital Photo Pro Magazine. Steve earned a BFA in Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He lives and works in NYC.
Max Luger is a photographer based in Brooklyn, NY who specializes in street journalism and fine art portraiture. His work has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art.
Daniel Russo is an award winning graphic designer, animator and photographer. Currently working in the television industry as a Production Designer. In April 2011, Daniel received his second Peabody Award for his work on the BP oil spill of 2010.
New York born and raised photographer Alex Bitar is passionate about the image and obsessed with light. He specializes in beauty, portraiture, and still life.