Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00
To some, a photo is an image of a person, object, event; you name it. To Keith Warhola, a photo is a story, a piece of someone’s time, a moment cherished forever and a way to showcase a subject which words cannot be used.
Warhola began his obsession with photography as an 8-year-old. His grandfather loved it, his father couldn’t get enough of it and Warhola felt it was necessary to follow in their footsteps. Currently, his 65 images dubbed Kreative Imagery are on display at the PACE Center on Willis Avenue in Mineola.
He jokes about his first ever photo, which according to his mother, was taken out his side window of two garbage pails. He thought it was cool as a kid.
“My mom jokes about it a lot,” he said. “She’s always amazed at what I do, but that photo was a start to something.”
Warhola’s latest masterpiece greets attendees as they walk into the gallery; a square colorful collage of Jones Beach State Park. It includes the famous boardwalk, the water tower and a flock of seagulls. The State Park bought a copy of the photo recently where it sits on display in the main office at Parking Field 4.
Among the 25-year resident’s other photographs are collage photos of Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center and some Long Island spots like the Montauk Lighthouse and landmarks of Mineola. In 2007, his Mineola collage was transformed into a mouse pad for then-mayor Jack Martins.
Warhola’s interest in collage photos began when he felt that more than one photo put together “tells a real story.”
“I just got tired of doing one image and I figured multiple images would give people a sense of density and fullness,” he said. “I figured it would be more visually stimulating. I started with the Mineola collage and haven’t stopped.”
His other photos consist of professional sports teams, ranging from the New York Mets, Yankees, New York Giants and Jets as well as a special collage dedicated to the 1980-1983 New York Islanders, who won four Stanley Cups in the first four years of the 80s.
But you won’t catch Warhola saying his favorite photo is of former Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry or former Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor. That distinction belonged to his niece and nephew, Jean Marie, 7 and James, 8, who were both victims of domestic violence in September 2010.
Sun Cha Warhola, their mother, currently awaits trial in Utah for allegedly strangling her son and daughter, according to Warhola. He said that he thinks about the kids everyday.
“The first photos that went to the PACE Center were of James and Jeannie [Marie],” Warhola said. “Dick Lopez of the Long Island Center of Photography approached me after he found out. He thought a photo exhibit of them would help me process the situation and possibly help the healing process and I came up with the end result.”
Lopez said Warhola asked for advice about how to deal with the grief and the exhibit was theraputic, according to Lopez.
“He wanted to address a memorial through an exhibit and has done a wonderful job,” Lopez. “All I did was make arrangements, Keith is the real deal here.”
Lopez said it was one of the more significant exhibits developed for that space at the PACE Center. Warhola concluded that he doesn’t plan on stopping his affinity for the still image anytime soon.
“Whatever I can do to keep their memories alive, I’m going to do,” Warhola said.
Hours of gallery viewing are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Fridays from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For further information call 741-5141.
The PACE Center is located at 302 Willis Avenue in Mineola, next to Willis Hobbies, just north of Jericho Turnpike. Warhola’s gallery will be on display until May 13.