Hi, I’m Joe Puglisi, the founder of Riverstock Images. Welcome to my world.
I started photography….
…in my senior year at New Paltz High School in the Fall of 1977 when I took an elective class (that I almost dropped because I didn’t think I was good enough). I learned how to use a 35mm camera, shoot, develop film and print black & white pictures in a darkroom. It was my only formal training in photography and I ended up with a C for my efforts. My first camera was a Ricoh (fully-manual) that my parents gave me for Christmas my senior year. I used this camera until my (now-deceased and sainted) father dropped it during a thunderstorm. After that I used his Canon AE-1 until I could buy one of my own. After high school I got a job with Arax Photographic in Poughkeepsie, NY, a full-service camera store and lab that’s now long gone. I worked as a clerk at a branch store whose clients were mainly lawyers and other professional that had offices nearby. I learned all sorts of things about cameras and printing pictures with my daily supply runs to the main store, a short walk from the branch store. The main store was where I preferred to work because of the friends I made, and all the equipment you could imagine to try out. For a budding young photographer it was like having the keys to a very big candy store.
In 1987 I started working as a toll collector for NYS Bridge Authority at the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. When I got my first paycheck I ran out and bought my dream camera: a Nikon FE-2.
I shot some of my greatest pictures with that camera until a trip to Switzerland in 2005. Prior to leaving, I bought a small Nikon Coolpix flip-style digital camera. When I came back home after ten days of shooting with it and getting excellent results, I decided that digital was the way to go for me.
I traded in under-used photo equipment and got a Nikon D-90, a favorite camera of my very photo-oriented cousins, Bob and Ed. They were already running a photo lab on Long Island before I got into photography. Between the two of them, they taught me a great deal about composition and shooting techniques that I didn’t know were possible.
In 1989 I sold my first photograph titled “Recreational Steel” at a group show in Kingston, NY. It was of the now torn-down Thunderbolt roller coaster at Coney Island, a vicious yet classic “woodie”. Shortly after that I was published for the first time on a postcard. The image was titled “The Drowning Man” and I shot it in a pool on Long Island.
The guy in the photo was my cousin’s roommate at Marist College who was also the captain of the swim team; a nice guy and a good sport. He’s now a member of the very brave FDNY and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and kid.
In 1999 I was published in book form for an update of Woodstock author Joanne Michaels’ critically-acclaimed “explorers” guidebook to the Hudson Valley. I was recommended by a mutual actor friend that lived in the Valley for a time. Although the edition with my photos is now (way) out of print, Joanne was the first person to give me a shot at being published so extensively; there were 42 photos of mine in that one edition. She was also supportive and helpful when it came to the selling of the artwork to her publisher. I will always be grateful to her for the chance I was given. She really knows the Hudson Valley inside and out and her latest edition of the guidebook I still reference when I want an “off the beaten path” adventure in the Hudson Valley. You can find her books here.
More recently six of my photos were published in the online edition of the 2009 Single Image Contest of B&W Magazine.
Most recently I joined the Edward Hopper House in Nyack, NY. My website and one of my pictures will now reside on their website, on their Artist Member Gallery page. The membership entitled me to exhibit one piece in their Annual Member’s Art Exhibit. This year the event was held in early January through mid-February. Hopper is one of my all-time favorite painters and that exhibit was one of my greatest moments to date. It was an honor and a privilege for my work to be hanging in the birthplace of one of America’s greatest painters, and my personal favorite. My father would have been so proud too as he was the one who introduced me to Hopper’s works.
Continuing on, Photography is…