An Evening with Photographer Fernando Espinosa Chauvin

What do New York City and the Galapagos Islands have in common? Not only have they both been photographed extensively by the infrared camera lens of Fernando Espinosa Chauvin, they are each in their own way, beautiful but potentially dangerous places.

On Wednesday evening I attended an art photography exhibition hosted by Eric Gartner AIA, and Supermodel and PR Queen Debbie Dickinson at SPG Architects on West 26th Street which featured selected works of Fernando Espinosa Chauvin. An enthusiastic crowd of people from the worlds of fashion, design, art, architecture and even Hollywood (Tina Louise of “Gilligan’s Island” fame) were in attendance.

Artist Dara Campbell, Supermodel/Curator Debbie Dickerson,  Photographer Fernando Espinosa Chauvin, Model Sara Johnson Hoyle, & Philanthropist/Real Estate Agent Jane Pontarelli
Photo: Laurel Marcus – click image for full size view

Some other notables included A-list society/ real estate broker/fundraiser extraordinaire and former Playboy bunny Jane Pontarelli who proudly sports pink hair as a breast cancer survivor; Errol Rappaport whose family owned the fashion line Damon Creations; Stone Zhu, a noted fashion photographer; Patty Somers, a writer for Fortune Magazine; and blogger Vevlyn Wright to name a few.

Gartner, Patty Sellers, Vevlyn Wright

Espinosa Chauvin clued me in on how the awesomely stark, crisp black and white effects are achieved. “Anything green comes out white and anything blue comes out dark,” he explained as we looked at one of his Central Park photos entitled “White Oak Branch at Sheep Meadow.” He has photographed in Central Park hundreds of times over the past few years mentioning that there are only certain times of the day (he tries to avoid too many kids and their nannies) and certain weather conditions (it should be a mostly sunny day) that are conducive to do so.

Dream Lights of the City
by Fernando Espinosa Chauvin
Infrared photography – New York City
Click image for full size view

Other outstanding photos of our town include “Highline and Hudson Yards” photographed from a helicopter about two years ago before the entire lot was developed. I noted that this photo follows the “rule of thirds” in its composition — in this case it is one-third air, one-third land, one-third sea. “Freedom Tower and Marina” is another masterpiece which follows that rule — this piece is so evocative of the push/pull of the triumph and gloom that still linger over Lower Manhattan. The hauntingly beautiful aerial New York cityscapes are known as “Dream Lights of the City” — see lead photo.

Galapagos Surreal – Auckland Zoo
by Fernando Espinosa Chauvin
Click image for full size view

The photos of Galapagos are equally dramatic. It would seem counterintuitive to photograph a place known for its exuberant color in black and white however in reality the lack of color brings out the textures, whether of the prickly cactus, the scaly iguanas or any of the other flora and fauna, are greatly enhanced through this process. “Though there is beauty, the climate is harsh, it will kill you. You cannot stand around too long in the heat,” therefore he likes to get his shot quickly before taking a break from the elements.

by Fernando Espinosa Chauvin
Click image for full size view

Although landscape infrared photography is now his forte, Espinosa Chauvin began his professional career in fashion photography for international modeling agencies including Ford Models, Elite, IMG and Next. He has taught at the International Center of Photography and at the gallery Pobre Diablo in Quito, Ecuador.

On display were three of his photography books: “Afrodisiaco” (a photography/art/cookbook complete with recipes; “Dubrovnik” (a travelogue); and “Galapagos Surreal” which he signed and gifted me with as a parting souvenir.

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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