There is a reason photographer Steve Berger didn’t shoot in color until he made the switch from film to digital several years ago — and it’s not simply because he prefers the stark contrasts and dramatic shadows of black and white.
It’s also because he’s colorblind.
“I have to rely on my wife for tone and tint,” he said during a reception for his latest show on Sunday.
But looking at Berger’s vibrant work, of which 15 pieces are on display during November at the Mattituck-Laurel Library, one could never tell. There is the dainty backsides of a group of daisies shot in vivid green or a colorful dredge reflected in Miamogue Lagoon.
All pieces in the show are 11” by 14” posters. They are available for $40 at the Blue Door Gallery in Riverhead Cecily’s Love Lane Gallery in Mattituck. Berger is now offering the posters as an affordable alternative to his framed prints.
“I started to think, ‘how can I get my photographs into the hands of the people without compromising what I do,’ ” he said.
The 15 chosen for the library show are some of Berger’s favorites. They include a vintage bicycle covered in snow outside his home and a barn set against the lush green grass and deep blue sky. And while today’s social media and iPhone photogs might prefer heavily filtered and manipulated images, Berger edits his work in a more old-fashioned way, never using tools that weren’t available in the days before shutterbugs had MacBooks.
“There’s no digital manipulation other than contrast and cropping,” he said. “We [Berger and his contemporaries] decided that we weren’t going to do anything in Photoshop that we couldn’t do in the dark room.”
Berger, who is recovering from a September spinal surgery, has limited the radius in which he shoots as he heals. Still, he is able to capture the natural beauty of the North Fork, sometimes from the windows of his Mattituck home.
“I never come back empty,” he said. “I always get something.”
‘North Fork Posters’ will be on display at the Mattituck-Laurel Library located at 13900 Main Road in Mattituck through Nov. 30.