Jim Prendergast of Mill Pond Music Studios

I recently remembered this little 2013 excursion, when friend and musician Joe Deleault invited me to join him in the studio for a record he was producing. He, musician Andrew Sterling (who's in the final photo), and I trekked to Mill Pond Music Studio in Portsmouth, NH, to spend the day with owner Jim Prendergast. Prior to establishing this recording studio, Jim was a full-time session guitarist (and more) in Nashville. He still travels there regularly, when not in the studio (as a musician, producer, or engineer) or performing with bands locally.

Natural, indirect light illuminates his studio, thanks to large windows along one wall (extending through multiple rooms)—a photographer's dream. I exposed three or four rolls of film, allowing myself to enjoy observing Jim's process of music-making, not the least of which involves an analog tape deck for audio capture. Brilliant.

And yes, it was just as relaxing and comfortable being there as it looks in the photos.

Ingbretson atelier: IV. abstractions

My previous post about this atelier project concerned the Ingbretson Studio as object: the artists' tools, their materials, and the space itself. This final post is related but dedicated to non-descriptive compositions; that is, the studio remains the subject matter, but the resulting photographs provide little to no visual information about it (and thus were kept from the photographic essay proper—the tragedy of page limits!). They are small sensual joys—found abstractions that demand nothing of me as creator or as viewer besides their aesthetic quality.

Ingbretson atelier: III. materials

The artists were my primary interests at the Ingbretson Studio; thus, the first and second posts about this project were limited to them and their work. However, their materials demanded their own attention as well. The space has this ubquituous, even light—a necessary but generous gift to a visual artist. Their palettes, paints, brushes, and pencils—to say nothing of the colorful objects on shelves and in stalls kept for years as potential subjects—rather than being the means to create, become the means to a composition. The space, intended to house the artists and their work, becomes itself the subject matter to a still life.

Ingbretson atelier: II. portraits of artists

In my previous post, I introduced my project about the Ingbretson Studio. Most of the students seemed to tolerate me, and some engaged me in conversation about their work or mine. I asked only these individuals to sit for a brief portrait—something I wouldn't usually do during a documentary project, but the north-facing windows and their scrims always produced remarkable light, and the artmaking always in progress compelled me to ask.

Aware of their tasks, I only made a few frames of each, always in a single setting, always in color.

Ingbretson atelier: I. artists working

A few years ago, my friend David Clayton told me about an art atelier in Manchester: The Ingbretson Studio for Drawing and Painting. I contacted Paul Ingbretson (the master and owner) about spending some time photographing there. He agreed, and I documented the life and work of his students and space.

I carried only two film rangefinders: one loaded with Tri-X (black & white) and the other with Portra 400 (color), using whichever one suited the subject matter and my photographic goal. I had only 35 & 50mm lenses and a handheld light meter. I listened: to conversations among the students, to Paul, and to the sounds of quiet making. I occasionally asked questions, discussed, and debated. Most were open to my presence and work, and I'm grateful to them for the opportunity.

The results, along with an essay, are published in the current issue of Dappled Things. My words there explain much of the studio's practices and culture; thus, I see no need to repeat or expand upon those words except by way of introduction. I will, however, be able to expand greatly on the amount of photographs published, organized thematically.

The first set, then, will show what one entering this atelier would see: students of various ages creating art in their stalls, similar to monks in their cells.

David Clayton, artist

I met David many years ago. We were introduced at a reception--and then again a few weeks later. Our social, academic, and artistic circles overlapped, and we became friends. He's a trained iconographer, and his most famous venture is a series (and blog and book) called The Way of Beauty.

These photographs were made in his (now former) studio and the chapel at Thomas More College, where he was artist-in-residence, in 2012.  We spent a good portion of an afternoon discussing his work, students, philosophy, and more. He's always working on multiple fronts as an artist (visually & musically), author, and educator, so conversations with him are always varied and engaging.

He now has a new project and lives on the other side of the continent, from where he taunts us New Englanders with photos of tremendous views while hiking (among other things).

portraits from theatre kapow's 24-Hour Play Festival

I've worked as a photographer with theatre kapow since their inception, and their efforts to create an authentic and unique dramatic experience is nothing short of inspiring. A few years ago, they began a 24-Hour Play Festival, which produces about five original short plays--from writing to performance--in a day. The experience is both absolutely taxing and thrilling for everyone involved.

Two years ago, I photographed the dress rehearsals, but I wanted something more. I decided to set up a small portrait studio (single softbox on a grey backdrop) in the wings of the stage, and when the cast and director finished their allotted 30-minute final rehearsal on stage, each graciously sat for a brief portrait. I've posted only a portion here; the full set can be seen on my website.

The 2014 24-Hour Play Festival starts tonight and will be performed tomorrow evening.

Aaron Compagna, 2012.
Photograph by Matthew Lomanno

Olivia Dodd, 2012.
Photograph by Matthew Lomanno

Justin Voshell, 2012.
Photograph by Matthew Lomanno

Emily Sarah, 2012.
Photograph by Matthew Lomanno

Karen Oster, 2012.
Photograph by Matthew Lomanno

Kelly Litt, 2012.
Photograph by Matthew Lomanno

Anthony Febo, 2012.Photograph by Matthew Lomanno

Lauren Karjala, artist

Lauren Karjala, 2012.

I met Lauren a few years ago through her family (her father is a photographer). I was beginning to actively photograph artists in their studios, so I asked to visit her. At that time, she was living and working in the basement of her grandmother's condo, which had been transformed by her figure paintings, drawings, and sketches of all sizes.

Towards the end of our visit, I realized that, during our conversations, she had been sketching me. Before we parted, she wiped it away.

Lauren's senior exhibit opens at the University of New Hampshire's Museum of Art on Friday.

Andrew Sterling in Mill Pond Music Studio

Last year, producer Joe Deleault invited me into the recording studio to photograph Andrew Sterling as he finished his album. We spent a few hours in Jim Prendergast's Mill Pond Music Studio in Portsmouth, NH, reviewing previous results, recording a few more tracks, and watching Andrew and Jim work. The environment was relaxed yet technically precise, and everyone ended the day pleased with the results.

March for Life: Mass I

Washington, DC, 2013
Washington, DC, 2013.

The night before the March for Life, a Mass is said at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Despite the basilica's tremendous size, it fills beyond capacity hours prior to the Mass, as the faithful hope to secure a place in a pew. But many must stay in the aisles and side chapels.

My photo essay about the March is published on

photo essay: The March for Life

I'm pleased that my most recent documentary work about the 2013 March for Life has been published on, a site devoted to documentary photography from around the world.

Despite reaching over 500,000 attendees last year, the March continues to be willfully ignored by national media outlets. I hope my work there shows both the immensity and the intimacy of an event that will celebrate its 40th anniversary this month.

In light of that, I'll be posting additional photographs--not found in the main essay--in the coming weeks as the March approaches.