By Angela Romeo

Peter Pallidino is no stranger to capturing people as they are – being themselves. Peter has been capturing images of society’s fringe cultures for many years. In New York in the 1970’s he was capturing images of the street culture of New York. The transgender, transsexual communities were becoming more visible. No longer hiding, Peter was capturing the blurred lines and making these people as real as a Wall Street CEO.

“My recent show, SNAP!, is an example of my approach to my art. A first glance my subjects are the celebrities of the homosexual, transgendered, and performance art subcultures, notorious outside of the American mainstream.  My intention was to create portraits that depict individual narratives of irony, sarcasm, defiance, and personal triumph that are capitalizing on their sexual and gendered ‘Otherness.’  Each person is subversion or subverts gender or sexuality in a heightened way precisely because they are successful professional entertainers,” said Peter. For many it was seeing this subculture as people, often for the first time.

Today the reclusive artist calls Cathedral City home. Peter and his husband, Simeon Den, are the current residents of the Agnes Pelton Home. Both have been instrumental in bringing the artwork of Agnes Pelton to a new generation.  More importantly the two founded the Agnes Pelton Society. The goal of the nonprofit is to provide support for local artists and to provide art instruction for children. “The Agnes Pelton Society is now in its third year. We rely on grants and other funding but mostly we rely on donations. When the community gets involved, whether financially or otherwise, the whole community is better,” noted Simeon.

The pair have also worked to bring the richness of art that is part of Cathedral City to  a larger audience.  As a part of that mission, Peter, in conjunction with Cathedral City’s 35th anniversary, has created a fine art photo exhibit, Cathedral City, An American Town/Community and Cultural Contrasts. The exhibition opens at the Simeon Den Gallery, 68895 Perez Road, # I-27, on Tuesday, November 15, 5-8 PM. The opening event will include participation by Cathedral City officials, including it mayor and other dignitaries.

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This photography collection highlights the diversity of Cathedral City. “Peter sees the world differently than most,” noted Simeon Den. “He sees the truth where others see nothing. His work is not about making everyone pretty. Rather his work is allowing their beauty to come through. This collection is no different. He has taken the essence of Cathedral City, its residents, and allowed their beauty, their truth, to shine.”

Cathedral City is poised to embrace its diversity. It has reached deep into its artistic community. The city has a burgeoning art district and an award winning high school digital arts program. Its artistic roots go back to the turn of the century s artist came here to enjoy the natural beauty and to live their lives away from the censorship of mainstream society.

As the city celebrates, Peter has created a documentary of portraits that capture the diversity of its neighborhoods, the richness of its varied cultures and events, and the jubilance of communities celebrating each other. As he has done throughout his career, Peter turns his eye to what is important; people without the pretense. Peter said: “In regard to portrait photography, I look for the truth often captured in the off-moments of a portrait sitting and I am interested in the delicate balance between the strength in vulnerability, the beauty in the absurd, and the oft unwitting humor in the poignant.”

The exhibition will run through December 12. For more information on Peter Palladino visit www.palladinodenphotography.com. For more information on the Agnes Pelton Society visit www.agnespeltonsociety.com.  For more information on the Simeon Den Gallery visit www.simeondengallery.com