Spotlight on Chris Pantaleoni: The man behind the lens

Chris Pantaleoni, The man behind the lens, italian culture, italian heritage, italian american, italian news, italian traditions

A photo by Chris Pantaleoni


As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words – whether it has its own story to tell you or you create a story for it yourself. Photographs have a special way of conveying messages in a way that the written or spoken word cannot. They can invoke emotions, immortalize memories and freeze time by capturing people in one moment that will never end.
Over the course of his life, San Diego photographer Chris Pantaleoni has created hundreds of stories and thousands upon thousands of words with his work. For the past five years, he has had a studio at San Diego’s NTC Liberty Station and is also currently displaying his work at Xanadu Art Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  Chris Pantaleoni 

  Chris Pantaleoni 

From childhood, Pantaleoni has fostered a deep love and appreciation of photography. As a young child, he says, he “watched with fascination the playful dance of light through the leaves of a bush across the street.” 
“After sufficiently begging my parents, I was allowed to take a picture with the family camera - a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye,” Pantaleoni recalls. 
That first photo shoot was trial and error – “[It] took me at least half an hour of careful work to load a roll of black and white film,” he says. – launched what would become Pantaleoni’s lifelong relationship with photography. To this day, he says, “the memory of that bush is still vivid.”
Pantaleoni approaches his work from a painter’s perspective, he says. “I edit for color and texture extensively and am dedicated to making the color you see the color I saw.” 
Beginning his career as a sports photographer for the student newspaper at University of Arizona, Pantaleoni eventually moved on to photographing other subjects as well – from nature to architecture. “I return to things from time to time, but am constitutionally unable to shoot ‘just one thing,’” he says. “If you must have a theme - and I disapprove of such things - then I search for what I find interesting or different.”
Rather than selecting a particular subject for a specific photograph, Pantaleoni oftentimes lets inspiration find him rather than the other way around. “Sometimes I go out looking for a photograph,” he says. “[I’ll] walk the shore at dawn to see what the sun may bring or hunt a dew sparkling spider web.  It’s rare I’ll decide, ‘Today I’m going to photography muskrats.’” 
Pantaleoni has slowly begun working with portrait photography, but he is sure to put his own spin and influence on it. “’Portrait’ does not have to mean a wooden posture in an equally wooden surrounding,” he says. His are not the stiff and formal department store portraits. “I’d prefer to work with you informally [by] walking together in a place you like [or] sitting in comfort in a place you enjoy.”
In doing so, Pantaleoni captures not only his subjects face but their personality as well in the photograph. This transforms it into so much more than just a simple point-and-shoot snapshot. 
Perhaps one of the most beautiful things about being a photographer is that the world is your workplace. Inspiration can strike at any time and at any place and a photographer never knows where the next picture will come from. 
“It’s easy - and a lot of fun - to carry a camera,” Pantaleoni says. “See something interesting?  Take the picture!”

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