Empowerment Through Photography
Faced with the challenge and goal of empowering youth and strengthening communities, New York City's Department of Probation turned to the Arts. The Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) is based on a model of offering communities with large populations of justice-involved residents an opportunity to come together and collaborate in a judgement-free, supportive, and respectful environment.
At the very get-go, the participants of the NeON Photography workshop are encouraged to use teamwork; they form bonds and friendships with the other photographers, and work to create a new confident self. Graduates of the workshop are then hired by local New York City businesses for professional shoots.
“NeON Photography is not just about completing a 12-week photo class, it’s about becoming a Photographer and entering into a growing photography network,” explains NeON Photography Director, Chelsea Davis. “Graduates of the workshops receive business cards, continue to sign out photography equipment, attend museum visits, and mentor new photographers. It’s an extraordinarily talented group. Working with them has meant witnessing one success after another.”
Pictured Above: Chelsea Davis, Director of NeON Photography, with Participants and Mentors
Steinway Piano Commercial Photography Shoot
In June 2018, Park Avenue Pianos, a Steinway Piano Reseller with locations in New York, Florida, and California, hired NeON photographers to create the core homepage image of a Steinway Grand Piano for the Company's Website. The group was faced with the task of photographing a Steinway Model L Grand Piano, with Pianist Yifan Shao at the keyboard. The setting was stunning, Tribeca's renowned 56 Leonard Building, but the space constraints (large piano with little room to maneuver) made for a challenge.
The end result proved to be exactly what the company was looking for: a clean, modern, attractive looking Pre-Owned Steinway Grand Piano. Mission Accomplished:
NeON Photographer Eric M. shared the following on his personal instagram page in reference to his accomplishments through the class: “worked so hard to get where I’m at. Got this big exhibit show coming. Working even harder and praying for better days and my prayers are being answered. Time and dedication got me where I’m at right now. Truly Blessed.”
Photographing Music Salons with Juilliard Alumni
NeON's Photographers went on to capture three separate Music Salons hosted by Park Avenue Pianos, which featured a myriad of Juilliard Alumni (pianists and vocalists) performing alongside Park Avenue Pianos Premier Steinway Piano Collection, a series of High-End Used Steinway Pianos. The first salon was hosted by Pianists Andy Luse and Ronen Segev. Pictured below is Vocalist Emilia Poma and Pianist Tianyu Deng.
The second salon was held in honor of Nicholas Coblence at the beautiful home of Laura Lehmann. Pictured below is Violinist Nurit Pacht and Guitarist Rami Vamos.
Capturing Pianist Steven Beck at Bargemusic in Brooklyn Heights
Internationally recognized Pianist Steven Beck, a Juilliard Alumni and frequent contributing member of the New York Philharmonic, performed Bach's Goldberg Variations at Brooklyn's Bargemusic. NeON Photographers were present to take in the music and photograph Mr. Beck's performance on a robust Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano.
“It meets you at whatever level you’re at when you come in,” NeON Photographer Kenneth S. explained in his testimony at City Hall to the Criminal Justice Council: “My favorite experience thus far has been, one minute you’re in a class in Harlem and the next, you have a camera shoved in your hand and you’re photographing the lead pianist for the New York Philharmonic at a private venue on 57th Street. It keeps your wheels turning, to be around creative people, that inspiration is kind of priceless to me, and it definitely has me thinking in terms of how I can take my craft to the next level, and about other skill sets I can apply to my professional life.”
Pictured Above with NeON Photographers is Park Avenue Pianos President Ronen Segev, Pianist Steven Beck, and Director Chelsea Davis
Visit to the Park Avenue Pianos Steinway Factory in Yonkers, NY
The culmination of NeON's partnership with Park Avenue Pianos was a visit in December 2018 to their factory, located in Yonkers, NY, to photograph used Steinway Pianos in various states of restoration.
Pictured Above: NeON Photographers Capture a Historic Steinway Model D
Pictured Above: NeON Photographers Capture a Limited Edition Steinway Model S Piano
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