Imitating Life

Posing questions to local artist Teressa Longo

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Teressa Longo with one of her photos

The Cultural Alliance of Long Beach, 729 Pine Ave., is currently hosting a 40-year retrospective by multimedia artist Teressa Longo, who has created an interactive experience using custom-made soundscapes to accompany images shot over four decades.

The exhibit is open for public viewing Wednesday through Friday from 4pm to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm. A closing reception will take place on Sunday, July 26 from noon to 5pm. There will also be an auction of the show’s work starting at 3pm. Opening bids will start at $150, and all photographs will include the sound modules with which they are paired.

“For 40 years I have been working with the integration of film images and sound in either the motion-picture industry as a film editor, or with my own personal films,” said Longo, a graduate of the film department at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. “I know what impact and impressions can be generated and experienced by the manipulation and conjunction of film with sound. For this exhibit, I wanted to integrate the same elements used in motion pictures, but on a very economic, basic level– one image, or frame, accompanied by a 20-second sound recording created to complement the image.”

Longo says she has worked in Long Beach for more than 14 years producing local murals and was one of the first cellphone camera artists. She has produced, directed and edited short films, documentaries, feature films and music videos.

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“Maltese Alley,” digital photograph (2011)

Though she’s been working in photography for decades, this retrospective may be her last.

“I suffer from ET– essential tremor– a common movement disorder that started for me in my late 40s,” she said. “I am a ‘street photographer’ and never have been one to use sticks or do studio photography, so the increasing uncontrollable shaking makes it frustratingly impossible to capture the images I’m used to getting on the run.”

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“La Grande Ola del Mar,” 35mm photograph (2007)

Although limiting her body of work to just a handful for the current exhibit was a challenge for her, she views the retrospective as something that allows her to close a chapter in her career and life.

“After taking photographs since I’ve been 8, I’m afraid, like many activities that are affected with age, I must let go,” she said. “I love what I’ve shot over the years, and to try and condense 40 years to a choice of 30 photographs was insane, but I’m happy with the show, and feel a bucket-list type of closure on my photography career.”

To view more of Longo’s work, visit teressalongoartist.com .

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