KINGSTON, N.Y.—Photographer Andrew Moore hunched over a table at his studio in the Fuller Building recently and walked his new intern, Elizabeth Kiluba, through ways she could make her photos pop.
Kiluba, 16, a Hurley resident on summer vacation from Kingston High School, became Moore’s intern some weeks ago. “We’re still getting to know each other,” Moore said in late June. He stopped her as she scrolled through a series of black-and-white photos on her iPhone. Kiluba said one photo looked wrong because a negative got scratched.
“If you just rewash that negative you can get rid of some of that. You can bring them in, I’ll show you how to do all that stuff,” Moore said. The pair got lost in a tangent, discussing the merits and pitfalls of color photography and processing.
Moore has taught for decades, at the university level and locally at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and said part of the appeal of having an intern was that he could be around young people and their ideas while feeling more connected to the community. Kiluba’s tasks, he said, would initially be more clerical than artistic, organizing digital files and preparing paperwork for grant applications, but he planned to have her join him on shoots, make promotional content and teach her how to use higher-level equipment.
It will all culminate in a gallery exhibition for Moore later this year in New York City featuring work he and Kiluba are preparing. The exhibition, Moore said, will be a meditation on modern wilderness and our relationship with nature, also exploring how the pandemic affected people’s relationship with Upstate New York and the natural environment.
He said some of the pictures are, “a kind of revisiting of the natural beauty up here in this part of the world.”
Keiluba said, “I feel like not enough people really understand what we have up here. I feel like a lot of people, and I know kids my age, kind of take this area for granted. They think it’s boring and they all just want to leave but they don’t understand how lucky we are to have all of these natural resources and the mountains, the Catskills, the forest, the river. A lot of people don’t have that around where they live, but we have it.”
Moore spent nearly the entirety of his career in New York City before coming to Kingston. His work, he said, which has seen the cover of New York Times Magazine, is inspired by one of his first loves, architecture. Moore said shooting in Kingston’s diverse topography and natural beauty, in contrast to New York City’s concrete and steel, forced him to think about his craft in a different way.
Instead of using the side of a building to frame a photo’s composition, he said, he has to rely on natural elements like branches or stone pillars.
Moore and his wife moved to the Hudson Valley in 2018 and he decided to create his new studio in Kingston after a chance meeting with the Fuller building’s architect Scott Dutton. He said after taking a tour of the space while it was under construction he decided to go ahead with a lease. He said he hasn’t looked back and deeply appreciates the sense of community in Kingston.
“It’s actually been kind of a double blessing to both have this fantastic studio and this community that’s kind of evolved for the past five years,” said Moore. Many of the pictures Moore takes are within an hour’s drive of Kingston with landmarks like Ponckhockie or the Roundout showing up in his work.
Kiluba said she plans to study film in college but was eager to get involved with photography to sharpen her eye and hone her visual palate. Moore said that was a good strategy, comparing photography to a base language like Latin in relation to video.
“It’s like capturing a moment in time and I feel like other types of mediums you can’t really get the same feelings out of taking a picture or photography in general,” said Kiluba. “You can really motivate and move people with photography and you can make a really big impact on a community of people with just a single picture.”
Moore said he began taking pictures at age 12, setting up a small darkroom in his parent’s attic. As he grew up, he said, he started to study paintings, but the emergence of more advanced and cheaper color photography equipment cemented his preference. He said it combined many of his intellectual interests and his artistic ones and his education at Princeton University further explored that.
“Photography has allowed me to see the world and meet all types of great people and hopefully make pictures that touch people and intrigue them and are things that they want to keep looking at every day,” he said.
Moore will be exhibiting his newest collection at the Yancy Richardson Gallery in Chelsea in New York City on Nov. 16. He said he was still working on a title for the show. “I have a lot of ideas,” he said.
Kiluba nodded her head. She said, “Titles are hard.”