… One city. Two restaurants.
…… Eighty+ employees as potential subjects. Four photographers.
……… More than seven thousand photographs taken.
…… Snapshots of everyday life. Or creativity captured.
… Anything goes… But only in black and white.
The employees of sister restaurants, VIA Downer and Transfer Pizzeria Café, are preserved in photographs taken over ten months in 2012. The final selection of images will hang at VIA and Transfer beginning October 11, 2012.
The Story Behind “Side Work”
John Rossetto, co-owner, Transfer Pizzeria Café & VIA Downer
This project was born from a nexus of creativity: our staff.
Between both of our restaurants, Transfer Pizzeria Café and VIA Downer, we have grown to a combined staff of more than 80 employees. We have always noticed the abundance of creative talent, artistic capacity, and entrepreneurial energy from the people who work within our walls. It is actually quite impressive. With this project, we hoped our staff would demonstrate that creativity for our amazing patrons. Of course, this would require a cooperative effort. We would need the collective inspiration, resourcefulness and motivation from not only the lead group of artists, but from the staff who would be the subjects.
Photography would be the medium.
It was an evident point of departure, since three of our staff are incredibly talented photographers. Megan Peters (VIA/Transfer), Heidi Spencer (VIA), and Kathleen Hamilton (Transfer) were enthusiastically committed. Jamie Gellings would soon join them. All of our staff could play a role, but for the four photographers, this would be their showcase.
The rules they would follow were simple:
- Black and white photography only.
- The subject or subjects of the photograph MUST be a VIA or Transfer employee.
- They would have ten months to complete their work.
Black and white only. Yes, we love it for this project. It is simple and straight-forward and we think it captures well the emotion of a human being as subject.
The goal was to record our people at work, at play, or anywhere in between. We would record, with images, the current lives of any of our staff (inside and outside of their roles at the restaurant) in any capacity. It would be OK to capture a moment of simple living, or a complex composition of creativity. We savored the opportunity to immortalize a server, or a dishwasher, or a cook, or a bartender, or a group of them all… in a work of art on our walls for our customers to see. All that mattered would be a great end-product: An engaging photograph. That was the challenge for our photographers and subjects.
The results are now in. More than 7,000 photographs were taken between January and October of 2012. We are excited to show the final selection at Transfer and VIA. The exhibit opens October 11, 2012 and runs through January 11, 2013, at both locations. We hope you enjoy seeing it as much as we did creating it.
Critics are raving!
ThirdCoast Digest calls “Side Work” the ‘intersection of art, commerce and employee relations.’
OnMilwaukee says “Side Work” is a ‘delicious photo exhibition.’
Check out the video preview for “Side Work”.
Today, Megan holds BFA in Photography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her work focuses primarily on documentary photography, as well as landscape and portraiture. She has been fortunate in her travels and incorporates the places she has been into her work. She has worked with several theater companies, including Youngblood Theatre Co., Combat Theatre and Bunny Gumbo Productions, serving as photographer for promotional and/or archival purposes.
For Megan, side work is a project that truly hits home; she’s honored to have worked alongside people with the same passion for capturing life and life behind-the-scenes. In this crazy world we call the restaurant industry, she has found her ‘home away from home.’
A Milwaukee native, Heidi is a musician, filmmaker and photographer. Her work has been described as dream-drunk, magical realism and portraiture. She holds a MFA in Film, is currently working on her fourth album, and continues to relentlessly dedicate herself to the arts.
Jamie is the proprietor of Jamie Gellings Media, a portrait photography, cinematography, and graphic design company. She manages Cafe Soeurette, a local cuisine fine-dining restaurant in West Bend.
“I’ve been photographing for five years, in the restaurant industry for over a decade, and I’ve really enjoyed combining the two for this project. Please enjoy!”