Neighborhood throws benefit to help local photographer, by Kimberly Gail Price

Craig LaCourt lives with his family in Red Hook. He takes pictures. For more than a decade his photography has captured the souls of his community.

Billy Durney, Craig LaCourt and Maitiú Ó Broin have a little fun at the fundraiser on February 27. (photo by Shami LaCourt)

Billy Durney, Craig LaCourt and Maitiú Ó Broin have a little fun at the fundraiser on February 27. (photo by Shami LaCourt)

Craig’s portraits reveal personality, emotion, action, but most of all, they illustrates humanity.

In January, the LaCourt family’ livelihood was halted by tragedy. They were traveling through Detroit when their car was broken into and emptied of $20,000 worth of photography equipment. Cameras, laptops, lens, hard drives were all removed without regard to the consequences for Craig, his wife Shami, and their two year old daughter.
The expensive equipment had been insured, but expired in October 2013. Without the insurance, Craig could not afford to replace the items. Without them, he would be unable to earn a living to support his family – at least not with photography.

But Craig’s past work and reputation prevailed. Together with the Red Hook community he and his family organized a fundraiser at Hometown BBQ to sell his previous work to build his future work.

Red Hook gave Craig a beautiful reminder that the neighborhood can and will still take care of their own. “I moved here in 2001 because I found a great space I could afford. But I really fell in love with the sense of community we have here,” he said. “That’s where we got the idea to concentrate the first show: to present how special it is to be involved with the great people that are here.”

Hometown owner, Billy Durney – along with the LaCourts and show curator, Alaric Campbell – they transformed the bbq and musical joint into an art gallery, late night dance party. Hometown’s website described the event as, a “fantastic evening of photo art, music and community.” From 7 pm until after 11 pm, friends and family danced, drank and ate heartily, all while standing among Craig’s portraits of themselves.

Although Craig does a lot of editorial photography for advertising companies, he is also involved in a personal undertaking he calls the “Red Hook Project.” For the fundraiser, he compiled portraits of people from the neighborhood that he has shot over the years. In an interview with Resource Magazine, Craig said, “This is just a start. We’re just getting a glimpse of how to interpret the place, so we’re in the early stage of the project.”

The photos reflect honest moments in the life of a human. Once Craig is able to replace some of his equipment, he will be expanding the Red Hook Project. In a FaceBook post following the event he posted, “I want to thank all the people who contributed by sitting (standing/jumping) in front of my lens over the last few years.” In a follow-up message to the star-Revue, he wrote, “We are by no means done with the project of doing portraits of Red Hookers. We have just begun.

Although the fundraiser didn’t raise enough money to cover all of the stolen items, Craig said it is enough to start rebuilding. “I am humbled by the turnout and show of support,” he said. “Friends from near and far came out and it was just an absolute honor to be able to hug anyone I could.”


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