Art Review: photographers Pendygraft and Zambon at The Studio@620

James Zambon’s “Surroundings” featured refreshing foreign landscapes and portrait-landscapes with rich colors and smooth, elegant lines—a far cry from the club scenes he usually puts out. Zambon has made a name for himself locally as the man behind the After the Hours camera—seen usually in the late-night or early-morning hours snapping away in bars or clubs, concerts or wedding receptions. But Zambon’s photographic career is not limited to the club scene. This man has talent.

The images selected for “Surroundings” tell the story of Zambon’s travels over the last year. His father, a native Italian, suffered a stroke in early 2008, taking Zambon to the small town of Cavasso Nuovo in Northern Italy , where he nursed his father back to health. Most of the “Surroundings” photographs came from this trip, although others came out of three separate trips to New York and Portland, where his brother lives.

Zambon’s photographs, like Pendygraft’s, endeavor to capture the history of a moment. Of my favorite Zambon photograph, depicting an elderly Venetian man on a bicycle against the orange backdrop of an ancient church, the photographer said, “I saw him riding his bike down the street, and I thought the background of the church kind of summed up the simplicity of European life, and the timeless nature of Europe.”







Acclaimed St. Petersburg Times photographer John Pendygraft and local events photographer James Zambon hosted a joint gallery opening last Tuesday at The Studio@620 in downtown St. Petersburg. Pendygraft’s work filled the front gallery, and Zambon’s the David and Astrid Ellis gallery in back; the work is on display at the Studio through Dec. 5.

Pendygraft’s portrait series, entitled “Oldest Old," is comprised of a spectrum of subjects — all 80-and-older Pinellas residents enjoying their lives in memory as much as in action. The black and white series featured “older people with a lot of character,” carefully selected by the photographer. Some, he met through Florida Council on Aging, others he pursued after seeing their briefs in the Neighborhood Times. He hung short biographies next to each photograph, every one telling a unique story. “It was kind of a hodgepodge of pounding the pavement,” he says.

I found two of his subjects in particular quite charming: Lucille Markley, 100, raised Methodist, now spends her Sunday mornings consorting with a Christian biker band and sharing with them her mutual love of music. Lucille spent the majority of Tuesday evening parked in front of her own portrait and, for a moment, was accompanied by her skull-helmeted friend, appearing also in the picture, albeit somewhere in the background.

Raymond Fowler (portrait pictured), 90, was one of Pendygraft’s simpler portraits, I would argue, because the smile on his face says it all. In the picture Raymond, — in  a smart, white suit — is receiving a kiss from an attractive blonde, obviously much younger than himself. He’s squinting one eye and smiling rather sheepishly. But that sheepishness is a rouse, I assure you. My date and I had the pleasure of meeting Raymond later in the evening. We took a Polaroid together. And I can attest, after knowing him for ten minutes, that Raymond loves the ladies.

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