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INTERVIEW: Michele Dragonetti On Her "Boat Hull" Series, East End Inspiration, "A Night Out With" Event, And More

Nicole Barylski

Photographer Michele Dragonetti will be fêted at the next Nick & Toni's and The Golden Eagle Studio 144 A Night Out With... artist series event on Wednesday, January 15.

We had the pleasure of catching up with the talented artist about her captivating Boat Hull series, the allure of "The End," and more.

How did you initially get into photography?

MD: It's something that I've been interested in since I was a teenager. I love the ability for it to be both a form of documentation and expression, and can be either or both in one image. My father was always interested in photography - but I think his interest was more in the technology and gadgetry of it. For me, it is about the expression not the equipment.

Why focus on hulls?

MD: The focus on hulls as subject matter that developed into an ongoing project happened very much by accident. I was out in Montauk one day with my camera, exploring around, and came upon a boat out of water and on stands for repair. Since it was out of the water, I was able to see the full underside of the boat, of the paint impacted by the corrosive effects of saltwater, of the weathering and wear of time and impact on the surface of the bottom. I was drawn to the naturally occurring lines given essential boat structure, and drawn also to the texture of the worn paint. I love the purity of the geometry and symmetry of the structure of the boat that comes through in every photo, complemented by the unpredictable texture of the paint surface. All of this is highlighted given the consistent and disciplined clear composition vision that I chose - the straight on square composition.

Do you have a favorite spot to document? If so, why?

MD: Montauk will always be my favorite since it is where the series started. Montauk is such an important part of our community, and feels so light and open. A perfect day is being out with my camera on a lovely summer day (but not too sunny - too many shadows!), walking and weaving between boats in a boatyard, crouching/sitting/laying down to get the right angle. These abstract photos are my specific vision of Montauk - of the fishing or leisure vessels that are so much a part of Montauk. They are portraits of the community.

While your Boat Hulls series started in Montauk, you've expanded it to include hulls docked internationally. Where will the series bring you next?

MD: I'm planning a trip to France for mid-2020. It will be my first visit to France, so I'm excited to explore its coast, architecture, and food -- but mostly of course its boats!

What will you cover in your A Night Out with... workshop?

MD: I would like to allow the night to unfold a bit without having it be strictly programmed, but overall the discussion with cover composition and eye - why and how I choose what I do, either in abstract and colorful boat hull photos, or in black and white street photography. I'd really like for it to be interactive - I would like people to be a part of the discussion.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

MD: I'm really excited for the A Night Out With... evening. I love both Golden Eagle and Nick and Toni's for their active roles in our community, not only with creating and hosting this event. I'm excited to share my work and to talk about photography and art. It's all about discussion.

A Night Out With Michele Dragonetti will begin with a workshop at 5:30 p.m. at the Golden Eagle Studio 144 (144 North Main Street, East Hampton), followed by a two-course dinner at Nick & Toni's (136 North Main Street East Hampton). Admission is $85 per person and reserving a spot in advance is required.

For more information about A Night Out With Michele Dragonetti, call 631-324-0603 visit www.goldeneagleart.com. For more information about Dragonetti, visit www.micheledragonetti.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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