Sparky Campanella

Caltrans--22nd Street

First place Peninsula Images

Alone in a dark, deserted subway station, a man inexplicably stands motionless at the bottom of a stairway. Sparky Campanella stands nearby waiting for a train, camera in hand. A silent shadow, he bides his time until a woman begins walking down the stairs.

Finally, he decides that the time is right, and eases his finger onto the shutter release button, making the decisive movement that will capture the moment forever. With a resounding click, he presses the button, snapping his photograph.

"I liked the dark, moody feel of it all," Campanella explains. "The station's kind of creepy to begin with, and this really seemed to capture the mood of the moment."

A "Web architect," responsible for designing and building Web pages, Campanella digitally processes all of his work, utilizing his computer expertise in pursuit of art. After shooting this photograph, he went straight to the computer with the negatives.

Mainly self-taught, Campanella has been shooting photographs ever since he was a kid. "I can't draw and I have a technical mind," he says. "Photography is a technical approach to art."

Campanella says that he is generally interested in abstract portraiture. His aim is "to capture shape and tone of light rather than (taking) a direct face shot."

Although he describes photography as a hobby, he spends nearly a third of his time pursuing it. Moreover, he considers himself semi-professional, since he does sell his photographs. He's also putting together a fine art portfolio with the intent of getting in to galleries and museums.

In the future, he hopes to have his work displayed in top museums and to continue improving as a photographer. "The main thing about photography is that you never arrive. As good as you get, you can always get better; there's always a new creative challenge," he explains. "So, the goal is just to get better and to get recognition." His strong showing in the Weekly's photo contest is certainly a good start.

--Steven Raphael

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