January 13, 2011 | by Max Barger
From ‘snowmageddon’ to art exhibit

Sometimes inspiration comes in unexpected places.

Local gay designer Ernesto Santalla found it in the snow with his camera.

“It’s what I did for days as it snowed and snowed and then snowed some more,” Santalla, president of Studio Santalla, Inc., says. “I took black-and-white photos for years and didn’t stop using film until ‘snowmageddon’ last February, when all I could get my hands on was a point-and-click digital camera.”

Instant digital gratification became photographic disillusionment when the fruit of trekking through mounds of snow was a heap of mundane images.

“That’s when I got the idea to make collages,” Santalla says. “A single image is flipped and repeated four times. What emerges is a fascinating kaleidoscopic photograph, which gives the viewer a very personal interpretation, like inkblots.”

On Jan. 20, a show titled “Ernesto Santalla Symmetries” opens at Long View Gallery in Washington, which presents Santalla’s view of D.C. in the midst of the blizzard and buried under snow.

“I’ve incorporated my photography into Studio Santalla’s interior design projects in the past, but the collages created an area of expansion for my business,” he says. “In the design industry, the most logical area of expansion is for a designer to introduce a furniture line, or when an architectural firm is also the builder. … As a business strategy it is often referenced as ‘brand expansion’ or ‘white space,’ whereby a company adds a division in a related field to grow its business.”

As the interest in acquiring the photographs has increased since last year from individuals and corporations, Santalla started a new company, Ernesto Santalla Photography LLC, which sells limited, signed editions of the images.

“Because of the power of mega-pixels, the prints can be very large, which adds to the dramatic effect of the collages,” Santalla says.

“Ernesto Santalla Symmetries” runs through Feb. 13 at LongView Gallery.

CAGLCC Programs and Events

We want your opinions. Each year, CAGLCC recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that have contributed to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the LGBT community in the Metro D.C. area. It is no small task to cull through the many accomplishments of members of our community and our allies.

This year, CAGLCC will recognize a select group of deserving honorees at CAGLCC’s annual Gala and Awards ceremony on April 8 at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Washington.

CAGLCC recognizes people and organizations based on their accomplishments: leadership, professional success and advocacy of LGBT economic and business issues. Past honorees have struggled to gain equality in the workplace for themselves and others, some demonstrate noteworthy success and professionalism in their careers, while others have been allies creating a supportive environment for LGBT employees.

The categories for the 2011 awards are Outstanding Business Person, Outstanding New or Young Business Person, Volunteer of the Year and Corporate Ally.

The Board of Directors of CAGLCC needs your help to identify qualified candidates for these honors. You can nominate individuals and organizations by providing a brief description of why you feel your candidate(s) deserves the award. Submit nominations to MGuenther@CAGLCC.org. For more information on the awards, go here.

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Congratulations to Gus Elfving, principal of Pet Peeps, who is celebrating five years providing professional in-home pet care services.

Christopher Brown, Esq. joined Ackerman Legal PLLC. His practice areas include commercial litigation, franchise and distribution and real estate.

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