The Eyes Behind The Phones

Third place image, “Lonely Picture,” by John Lazzaro

Third place image, “Lonely Picture,” by John Lazzaro

By Tatiana Belanich

Photography is the most accessible it has ever been. Everyone has a camera on their phone, yet not everyone is a photographer.

The curator of FotoFoto Gallery’s International Phone-ography Exhibition agrees. “Photographers have an eye that are unlike other people,” Beth Giacummo-Lachacz said. “I think this exhibit helps separate that the person behind the camera is the talent, not the device.”

FotoFoto Gallery is showcasing the artistry that is now at the fingertips of the masses, but as Holly Gordon, gallery member and publicity coordinator of the exhibit said, “Everyone shoots with their phones, but not every shot is a winning one.”

The Phone-ography exhibit is the product of an international competition. Giacummo-Lachacz said that the gallery received over 300 submissions, with up to five images from each applicant. Submissions came from all over the world including France, Belgium, Florida, Texas, Long Island and Manhattan.

Though Giacummo-Lachacz said it was difficult to choose, the exhibit features 31 selected images, all of which were taken with smart phones. From those, the curator selected three for awards.

Giacummo-Lachacz has been a curator for over 12 years. She is the director and curator of Farmingdale State College’s Memorial Gallery and executive director of the Patchogue Arts Council. This was her first time being a juror for FotoFoto Gallery and said she felt honored to work with them.

Giacummo-Lachacz understands the work that goes into shows like this one. “I want to thank all the artists that took the time and effort,” she said. “I am also an artist, so I appreciate the time.”

For this show, FotoFoto Gallery printed the images for the iphoneographers. Rather than printing and shipping their pieces, the participants had only to email the images. “It makes the opportunity very convenient,” Giacummo-Lachacz said. 

FotoFoto Gallery is committed to bringing awareness to photography as art, Richard Gardner, photographer and president of the gallery, said. The nonprofit organization’s stated mission is to “conduct a cooperative photographic gallery dedicated to the encouragement of the artistic development of photographers.”

The Phone-ography exhibit continues that mission. Giacummo-Lachacz believes that the pieces chosen affirm that photography is an art that requires skill – a response to the debate that anyone can be a photographer with today’s accessibility to technology.

Giacummo-Lachacz tried to choose an “interesting variety of work,” she said. She examined the pieces with attentive eyes, assessing each on basic criteria. The most frequent question she considered was, “Is the artist pushing what they can do?,” she said. 

She also evaluated images on composition and interesting subject matter.

More than 100 people attended the exhibition’s opening reception last Saturday, including out-of-state visitors from Boston, Gardner said.

“The value is immense,” said Gardner of the exhibit. “People don’t realize that the best camera you own is the one you have on you when you need it.

“My first digital camera wouldn’t do what my phone does now,” he added. “It’s just amazing.”

The Phone-ography exhibition will be on display through August 25. FotoFoto Gallery is located at 14 W Carver St., Huntington. For more information on the exhibit and the featured iphoneographers, visit