• Sonny Premo and Kathabela Wilson.

      Sonny Premo and Kathabela Wilson.

      Sonny Premo is passionate about capturing the brief moment in time when beauty can be framed with her camera. She is always looking, quietly, with a ready eye to see what might be otherwise unnoticed.

      By Kathabela Wilson

      A microscope on the artist

      What inspires your creativity?

      What inspires me most is silence. "Sushi Perspective" by Sonny PremoIn the silence, the mind and the eye have a chance to see what is around us. I need to mute the outside world and hone in on just the one sense. Silence opens my creative mind. I make my living as a video editor, yet when my eyes land on something, I frame it as a still shot. And often when I am taking pictures, I look up. This is always interesting and surprising. The tops of buildings, fireworks, interesting cloud patterns, I think people miss things when they don’t look up. When I am in a restaurant, I always check out the lighting fixtures!

      Compass of the artist

      You seem drawn to be creative in many ways, how did you come to know it was the visual art that was the strongest for you?

      My high school English Lit teacher, Mr. Gorman, may have started me off when he walked into class one day with a handful of books, all copies of the play, Macbeth. He plopped them onto our desks and said ‘do not bother reading them. I am handing them out because the school board tells me to. Shakespeare is meant to be seen and we are going to see it!’ Sonny Premo in her element.We ended up watching the Roman Polanski and then the Orson Wells version of the play on video. It was amazing and opened my eyes to the film medium.

      ​Later, I ​remember a date, the first time I went to a museum. We walked into the Norton Simon and he led me to the main gallery. At a distance from a painting, he stopped me, gently taking my shoulders. He whispered in my ear ‘take off your glasses’. I did as he asked. There, at a distance, was Monet’s ‘The Artist Garden’ and I lost my breath. I saw the wind bending the tall flower stalks. I swear I could feel the cool breeze and the scent of flowers was almost overpowering. I saw the painting as I think the artist did. I got the image perfectly, changed my life.

      A telescope on the artist

      What kinds of things are you drawn to capture with your art?

      I love pics with vanishing points, looking up at the rigging on a ship in San Diego, the color of tea, in a blackout, by candlelight. I notice open doors, you don’t know why they are open but they invite us outside our usual inner environment. Defrocked by Sonny Premo.Once as I was leaving church, I noticed that Father Bob had cast off his formal robes on a bench before greeting the congregation. I quickly took that photo of vestments left​ there, and it became one of my favorites, I call it “defrocked”. I love pathways that lead onward, to endless possibilities. Photography makes you always be on the ready because things happen suddenly and one has to be ready for them. The sudden appearance of the unusual beauty — In the distance, in the sky, near the ceiling, above our heads, zipping past a door or window.

      Pulse of the artist

      What are the places and people close to your heart that have given your artistic work momentum?

      The most important influence is the love of my life for the past 27 years. She has introduced me to opera, movies, museums, as they say in Auntie Mame​, ​she showed me ‘doors I never dreamed existed’. She bought me my latest and best camera and has always encouraged my art, whatever road I wanted to take. I grew up in New Hampshire and Ohio but it was the one-year I spent in downtown Chicago that is still my biggest influence. Sonny PremoI was 19. The buildings were so tall and majestic. The city was alive and vibrant and I spent that summer studying improv at The Second City and spent 7 years in stand up comedy. The wind off the lake used to rock the whole high rise we lived in. I used to roller skate in the dry water plant beds looking up at our building, the sunlight flickering over it. Currently, I share my work at the Colonnade Gallery and meet with artists and poets in Pasadena. I live in the mountains in Altadena and the setting sun hitting the mountainside is most magical. It teaches you to be a good photographer. The colors change by the second and you can’t blink or you might miss it.

      "Porthole" by Sonny Premo (Tanka by Briony James).

      “Porthole” by Sonny Premo (Tanka by Briony James).

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. susandiri says:

        thanks, Sonny & Kathabela, for this fine introduction to visual acuity!

      2. Alex Nodopaka says:

        The defrocked title was worth the photo. It goes to show that the title is worth a picture. Bravo!

      3. poetryofplace says:

        I knew I liked Sonny right away without knowing her. Now I can see the layers of her reflected on the surface. I appreciate her insights into photography and the philosophy which drives it. Lovely interview.

      4. Susan Dobay says:

        Again it is very beautiful and interesting interview. Thank you for sharing.

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