Local photographer’s work to grace Reminder Gold Pages cover
By Andrew J. Concatelli - ReminderNews Assistant Editor
Region - posted Wed., Jun. 12, 2013
Somers native Kevin Bastarache knows that his photographs are striking to area residents, due to both their familiar subject matter and unique visual style. The photographer enjoys capturing images of local landscapes or recognizable buildings like churches. “The whole hook for me is that these are local images that people really respond to. They hold a place in their heart,” he said. Using digital editing techniques, Bastarache then puts his artist’s touch on the scenes to brighten the colors, sharpen the focus, and create a heightened sense of reality, in order to evoke memories of a specific place and time. “I make it like it was in their mind – dreamlike,” he said.
The artist’s work may be familiar to some – his glorious images of the intact Somers Congregational Church were circulated after the building burned down last year – but he has never exhibited in a gallery or show.
Bastarache’s photography will be exposed to its largest audience yet, when one of his images appears on the cover of the Reminder Gold Pages’ new Enfield/Windsor phone directory, which will soon be distributed to homes and businesses in East Windsor, Enfield, Somers, Suffield, Windsor and Windsor Locks.
The cover photo features the Somersville Mill. “It’s kind of near and dear to my heart because I grew up in Somersville,” Bastarache said. “The mill pond runs through the mill, and I spent a lot of time as a kid in and around that area.” The photo was taken in 2010 or 2011, he said, before fire damaged the mill. Bastarache said he hopes people might find the photo as sentimental as he does.
Bastarache’s appreciation for photography began while he was living in and photographing picturesque places such as southern California, Mexico and Alaska. That appreciation became a passion more recently while he was living in the Dominican Republic, where he supplemented his income with photography. After returning to his home in Connecticut and setting up a studio here, he travels the backyards and trails of New England in search of “the perfect shot.”
His photography and digital editing skills are all self-taught. “It’s been mainly trial and error,” Bastarache said. A technique he favors is called HDR – short for “high dynamic range” – in which he takes a number of photographs at different exposure levels, from very dark to very bright. He then uses a computer software program to choose different images to combine, resulting in an effect that lets the viewer see all color ranges throughout the photo. “A lot of times I’ll try to make my photographs look like artwork,” he said. “It makes it looks almost painted – a little more saturated, a little more contrast. To me, it’s interesting.” This process takes about an hour per photo.
“I can’t paint or draw, so I find something I love,” he said. “I’m painting with the computer. I’m creating something that wasn’t there.”
Bastarache’s work is available for purchase locally at Crossroads Gifts and Greetings in Somers or online at www.kjosephdesigns.com or https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Joseph-Photography-and-Design/213491602....