The East End of Long Island is often an escape from bustling Manhattan life and that has most definitely been true for photographer Car Pelleteri. Growing up in Brooklyn, Car started shooting portraits of herself and her friends at age ten and is drawn to raw and candid subjects. She has a love for the ocean and its surrounding landscapes. Car lives in Hastings on Hudson, New York, with her husband, Vic, and son Leo. Her most recent project is a hardcover book of photography entitled Montauk 11954 which is a compilation of her beloved moments in “The End.”
“My first visit to Montauk I remember like it was yesterday…I was so intrigued with the land, the surf, and the people. This was the beginning of my fascination of a unique place all the way out on Long Island known as ‘The End,'” reflected Pelleteri in her book Montauk 11954.
Montauk is just 100 miles east of midtown Manhattan, making it a go-to destination for city-dwellers. Montauk 11954 portrays the beloved culture and scenic landscape—surf and sun bathers at Ditch Plains, the terrestrial Hoodoos at Shadmoor, and horseback riding at Deep Hollow, the oldest cattle ranch in the US. Images of the sun dipping into the ocean at Navy Beach, the walking dunes at Hither Hills, and visitors enjoying the fresh local seafood and homegrown brews on the dock are all featured in Car’s latest project.
We caught up with Car to learn more about her creative process and passion for photography:
You grew up in Brooklyn, so what initially drew you to the East End of Long Island?
CP: In June 2000, I went out to Montauk for a fashion catalog job. I was the photographer’s assistant. The drive through all of the Hamptons was just so pretty, peaceful and classic. When we got there, I was instantly inspired. This big beautiful landscape existed just a few hours from NYC. Being a big beach and ocean person, this job was also like a vacation – we stayed a week. The late East Deck, also drew inspiration. It was retro, another added bonus to my photographers eye.
What is one of the most memorable moments in the Hamptons for you?
CP: There are many. One that stands out is trading a second copy of my first book, Surf +Turf: Montauk for three lobsters and t-shirts from Anthony Sosinski, fisherman. Hilarious thinking about it.
Can you speak to the early stages of your photography? What was your inspiration at those beginning moments in your career?
CP: I started looking at fashion and teen magazines as a child. I’d go to the store and buy issues of Seventeen, Teen and Tiger Beat. Then I started photographing myself and friends, emulating their poses. Later, in my early career, I turned the camera on models, musicians and occasional empty urban landscapes. Making photographs that received recognition and income for publications was great and there was no turning back.
What does your book Montauk 11954 symbolize for you and your career? Why should the public be so excited to get a copy?
CP: Having been a photographer for a long time, I worked making single images more than creating expanded stories. Montauk’s inspiration got me to photograph this single place more than I have any other. I find it highly photogenic. The beauty of its bountiful natural landscape and everything about it – including the openness of the people I photographed kept me going back for more.
Schiffer publishing and believing in this series and putting out there on a large scale is exciting. Hopefully it will lead to more fruitful endeavors. Montauk 11954 is a strong body of work that captured some of Montauk at a critical time, as things were changing. The book holds some of the most precious artifacts, such as old stores, restaurants, motels of the town that are no longer. It also shows Montauk in its quiet light, the beauty, the peace and some of great people that make the town what it is.
To learn more about or order Montauk 11954 visit www.schifferbooks.com.