In our recent Art issue, we featured many talented artists, sculptors and writers. But with all that talent come the unsung heroes such as photographer, Greg Pallante. VUE met Pallante when he supplied an image of “The Kingdom”—a large-scale mural in Jersey City—and soon, we learned, that his talent extends well beyond your run-of-the-mill street art documentarian.
From the top of a neighboring building, Pallante was able to capture a shot of the mural at a downward angle, exploiting the exaggerated scale of the piece against the tiny cars and semi-trucks beneath it. “The Kingdom mural is massive and has such an imposing presence for anyone standing in front of it, capturing it in just one photograph was difficult,” Pallante said.
Pallante developed his passion for art and photography in his teenage years, playing in punk rock bands and traveling from New York City to Philadelphia to play underground gigs. He began bringing disposable cameras with him everywhere. “I would hang out the window of the car when visiting new cities and call people out on the streets. I loved capturing their startled reactions” he recalled.
Today Pallante is an editorial and commercial photographer who specializes in lifestyle, portraiture, and fashion photography. Pallante’s roster of clients includes Stetson Hats, Verizon, Nasdaq, GQ Magazine, and The NJ Devils. He still keeps a camera at his hip at all times, allowing him to document eye-catching moments through his photos. His personal work revolves around music, sports, and fashion. He draws inspiration from traveling to new places and meeting new people, most recently documenting a trip the the Hawaiian islands and a three-week road trip across the United States.
Based in the Tenmarc building, Pallante is able to surrounded himself with other talented artists like himself. “The Tenmarc is a wonderland of creative energy,” Pallante said, “On this floor alone I’ve got access to the woodworkers at JC Union, screen printers at JC Screen Printing, and the printmakers at Magnets.com.” The Tenmarc building is just a few minutes from downtown Jersey City and the huge space makes for the perfect working environment due to its natural light, charm, and character.
Contrary to popular belief, Pallante explained how you don’t always need the top-of-the-line equipment to be a successful photographer. The equipment you use depends on the message you are trying to get across as a photographer. “I use all types of equipment, from top-of-the-line DSLR’s, to old 35mm point-and-shoot film cameras,” he explained. “There are certain subjects where the aesthetic of the film grain adds so much to a shot that you can’t match with a digital camera.”
Pallante describes the art of photography as observing the whole world and deciding which part of it you want to subtract and which parts you want to pull into the frame. For him, key elements for taking a good picture include composition, lighting, and what Henri Cartier-Bresson called the decisive moment. “To paraphrase Cartier-Bresson: there’s a moment where something happens which reveals the truth about the situation and that’s when you release the shutter. It’s something that can’t be faked,” Pallante said.
The art scene in Jersey City is flourishing, and it’s great for many artists like Pallante himself to live in a community that places such value on creative contributions. “I moved to Jersey City four years ago because I knew the art scene was happening and rapidly growing, I wanted to be around the artists here and get to know about everything happening.” Pallante said. There are a lot of great things happening with art and photography in Jersey City as the scene continues to evolve. “It’s amazing to see all of this flourishing in our own backyard. There are tons of established professionals as well as young adults who are starting to make waves.”
To see more of his work visit: www.gregpallante.com