Gil Riego Jr.
With the help of his Hasselblad and Holga cameras in front of his unique eye, one man has wrangled the remote corners of the world into a smaller corner of “Follow Your Heart” in Canoga Park.
Jonathan Ramirez, a photography student at Pierce College, presented his photos from his travels over the years at the restaurant section of the establishment last month.
His gallery, “Musing in Silver,” is Ramirez’s second show ever, displaying landscapes from California, down to Chile and around the world-all of which is also available to purchase.
Norman Schwartz, a colleague of Ramirez, said, “It’s amazing that he’s able to make such amazing work without using any of the three major advancements of photography-color, zoom lenses and digital.
“He’s able to turn the simplistic into a work of artistic complexity,” he said. “The scenes he shoots are places I’ve driven by many times, but I’ve never noticed how beautiful they were. It took an artistic eye like Jonathan’s to capture the beauty that was there.”
Ramirez’s work is not only an accomplishment for him, but also a first for “Follow Your Heart.”
Waiter Joshua Boyd said, “There hasn’t been anything like this here. I don’t even think we’re allowed to do it, but we did.”
Ramirez, who frequents the vegan restaurant, waited for a year and a half for this event.
“All of us hippies support each other,” he said with a laugh.
His artist statement summarized how he wanted to display works taken with conventional film. He personally developed each photograph in various labs around the San Fernando Valley, from professional labs to makeshift darkrooms belonging to friends.
Ramirez celebrated his gallery at a reception with friends and family.
“I was freaking out,” he said, “but it was entertaining.”
He celebrated the occasion by passing out carbonated kombucha (a tea mushroom beverage) in small champagne glasses.
Many of the attendees raised their glasses and toasted to Ramirez’s honor. Other people who happened to be in the restaurant were not left out of the festivities.
“I went to every table here introducing myself to people who I didn’t know,” Ramirez explained. “If they weren’t here for the reception, they were now.”