“I started making portraits of locals and natives, fishermen, surfers, restaurant owners, writers, the Montauk lighthouse chairperson. They either had to be born there or have lived there for decades. That was the way I started,” says Car Pelleteri about work on her recently published “Montauk 11954.”
In 2000, Car Pelleteri was weeks from finishing her Photography AAS when she was sent on assignment to Montauk to assist with a Macy’s catalog shoot. She “became smitten” by the idyllic Long Island community and landscape. “It seemed removed but within reach of the city. The place we stayed, East Deck, was an especially cool motel,” she says.
By 2012 Pelleteri started noticing a cultural shift. “It was getting more crowded, with a layer of ‘ultra cool’ in the air.”
Pelleteri spoke to the manager of the East Deck about her desire to make portraits. “The owner came out and gave me a list of names on a business card. Her word was like gold. Everyone I approached for the project said ‘yes.'”
In between shoots Pelleteri shot landscapes and environments–the cliffs, (called the hoodoos), vintage signs, horses at Deep Hollow Ranch, close-ups of seafood. “It was to capture the overall feeling, to provide a sense of place,” she says.
Pelleteri self-published a book of her Montauk photos through her own LLC and had it printed by a company in Iceland for spring-summer 2014. “It was limited to 500 copies. I photographed it, edited it, transcribed interviews, and had a copy editor look over the text. I also had an excellent designer do the layout. We collaborated on the cover design.”
It was a “big production on a small independent scale,” she says. “I got it into 27 bookstores, boutiques and elsewhere in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Hamptons, throughout Montauk, Florida and Washington state.”
Her book got publicity from The Southampton Press, French Vogue, Hamptons Magazine, and Traveler. She sold out the 500 copies.
In spring 2017, Schiffer Publishing contacted Pelleteri to inquire if she might go further with the project. “I had wanted to do a second edition. They asked me to photograph more with a different feel and edit. The book released Sept 28, 2018 and it’s selling everywhere,” she says.
“FIT is instrumental in many of the projects that we consider and publish…FIT is a creative hub that develops students’ skills and perspectives through expert and industry knowledge. I respect the institution for all that they do to develop future designers and makers.” – Pete Schiffer, Publisher, Schiffer Publishing
“FIT was instrumental to my development as a photographer,” says Pelleteri. “The teacher support I received was excellent. The facilities, equipment and big photo companies such as Profoto and Hasselblad, held demos that allowed me to practice with the best equipment. I was already photo assisting but this potent combo better prepared me for the real world,” says Pelleteri.
“Car Pelleteri’s ‘Montauk 11954’ is revealing, peaceful, genuine and inspiring,” says Photography Prof. Max Hilaire
Schiffer Publishing has published work of other FIT grads and faculty including titles on pleating and design to books on technical skills. “We just published a book with Helene Verin based on the FIT Library collection of Shoe designer Arsho Baghsarian; Stuart Weitzman wrote the introduction. An FIT instructor, according to Schiffer, is currently working on a metalworking project.
To see more of Car Pelleteri’s work visit her website at: carpelleteri
Photos used with permission.