By Melissa Arnold
You’ve probably heard the old adage that laughter is the best medicine. As it turns out, it’s more than just pithy wisdom. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter stimulates the heart and muscles, releases feel-good endorphins, reduces tension and can even lower blood pressure.
Inspired by the belief that we could all use a good laugh, the Art League of Long Island invited amateur and professional photographers from the tristate area to submit photographic images “capturing smile provoking images of humor, laughter, and all things silly with their camera lens” for its 7th annual juried photography exhibit, Laughing Out Loud, which opens June 29.
“We all need a break from the seriousness of life and to share a little joy with one another,” said Susan Peragallo, gallery coordinator and curator for the Art League’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery in Dix Hills. “Everybody on the exhibition committee latched onto the idea and they really loved it. We were so pleased with the submissions and were literally laughing out loud.”
More than 200 photos were submitted for juror Alex Ferrone, owner of the Alex Ferrone Gallery in Cutchogue, to review. She ultimately narrowed the field to 51 of her favorites.
“I was looking for an immediate response that made me laugh or chuckle because of what was happening in each scene. Along with that, I considered the structure of the image and the technical execution including composition, use of color, balance, and mood,” Ferrone explained.
“Jurying is never easy, and it was an honor to be asked to work with the Art League on this fun exhibition. I believe this exhibit will make people feel good inside, and maybe just keep that feeling to pass along to the next person they meet,” she added.
Gemma Saylor of Centerport quickly had the perfect photo in mind when she heard about this year’s theme. Her submission, titled “French Art Is Not PG,” features her young daughter bashfully covering her eyes in front of a revealing painting at a French museum.
“Reading the news every day is just depressing, and I loved the idea of getting people to laugh no matter how bad things are,” said Saylor, who works as a dietitian while also running her photography business, Leela Bleu Photography. “It’s good to have a laugh and appreciate that small things in life can make us smile.”
Alissa Rosenberg of Commack chose her photo “The Ultimate Movie Experience” for the exhibit, which depicts her husband posing before a billboard of moviegoers as if he were one of them. The photo is part of Rosenberg’s ongoing Manhattan billboard project, where her subjects alter or enhance the meaning of the billboards with their poses.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this exhibit because I love the community that the Art League provides, and the gallery is beautiful. I also really respect Alex Ferrone’s work,” said Rosenberg, a speech pathologist and owner of Alissa Beth Photography. “Everybody wants to find things that make them smile and feel good, and it’s nice to create art that evokes those feelings.”
Laughing Out Loud will be on view from June 29 through Aug. 4 at the Art League’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery, 107 East Deer Park Road, Dix Hills. Winners of the juried exhibit will be announced at an artist reception on Sunday, June 30 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. followed by a Gallery Talk led by Alex Ferrone on Thursday, July 11 at 7 p.m.
The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for major holidays. Admission is free. For further information, visit www.artleagueli.net or call 631-462-5400.