Steel Studios Pop-Up Shop shows off photography of Pittsburgh

Written By Matt Petras

 

Photographers Dave Dicello and Jason Furda are selling Pittsburgh photos just about every day until Jan. 9, 2016 at the Fifth Avenue Place, and so far, the “Steel Studios Pop-Up Shop” has been a success. 

“It’s been busy,” Furda said. 

On the first floor of the Fifth Avenue Place, surrounded by floral shops and places to nab some candy, is the duo’s shop, filled with a variety of Pittsburgh-themed photographs in various formats and sizes. Most of the pictures are colorful, sweeping landscapes of the city, but there is more to be found, like Dicello’s “Solitary Strike,” which is a picture focused on a bolt of lightning, and Furda’s “The Glow of the Green Room,” featuring exactly what it sounds like. 

Prices range from $15 for small 5” by 7” prints all the way up to prices like a 30” by 40” metal piece being sold for $425. Pictures come in additional slate, wood, and acrylic formats, and the selection isn’t limited to what is on display; if you find a picture you like but want it in a different size or format, even if they don’t have enough in the shop at the time, the two will try to accommodate, they said. 

That metal 30” by 40” inch piece is “Picture Perfect Pittsburgh,” Dicello’s favorite piece of his in the whole shop. It is a grandiose shot of the city taken from a helicopter. 

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to take a more perfect picture,” he said. 

Furda’s favorite of his is “Pittsburgh’s Big Reveal,” an image looking into the city from behind one of the bridges leading to it. 

“It’s so indicative of people’s first experience coming into the city,” said Furda. 

The two were happy at the end of their first week of business, which began on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 10 a.m. People of a variety of ages have been buying things at a myriad of different prices, but the $15 pieces have been particularly popular because of their low barrier of entry, they explained. 

The duo plan to give a certain percentage of revenue to a new charity on a monthly basis, Dicello said. This will include a certain amount going to help those with Cystic Fibrosis, with details to come later. 

The two are both experienced in the realm of photography. Dicello works full-time at Thermo Fisher as a financial analyst, but sells his work independently at hdrexposed.zenfolio.com and does a weekly feature for DK on Pittsburgh Sports that is sponsored by Point Park University, according to the DK on Pittsburgh Sports website. 

As for Furda, he has his own studio that goes by Divine Mayhem Studios along with freelance work. 

Senior photography major Michelle Montana commended Dicello’s dedication and work ethic. 

“You could tell [Dicello] took his time with it,” Montana said. 

Hannah Harley, another senior photography major, had similar things to say. 

“These are dedicated photographers,” Harley said, pointing out the different weather conditions in which the two took photos. 

Assistant Professor of Photography April Friges has a respect for what the two are doing as well, but doesn’t see their efforts as helpful to the city in terms of national recognition, she said. After looking at provided samples of Dicello’s work for seconds, she stopped looking, unimpressed. 

“A lot of people don’t take photography seriously because of mass-produced, aesthetically pretty, inexpensive art,” Friges said. 

While not taking issue with the duo’s work individually, calling what they do “it’s own thing” separate from the work she is interested in, she doesn’t want their work to be representative of Pittsburgh’s photography scene, she said. 

“If I [tell people] I’m a photographer they ask what kind of weddings I do,” she said. 

In response to Friges’ remarks, Dicello and Furda, who both incidentally shoot weddings professionally at times, welcomed the challenge and the pursuit of discourse in general. 

“I didn’t get into photography to be the greatest photographer and win Pulitzers,” Dicello said. 

For him, what he does is much more personal. 

“I’m presenting the city how I see it through my lens,” Dicello said. 

That doesn’t mean they don’t take what they do seriously, however. 

“We hold ourselves to a really high style, in terms of quality,” Furda said. 

Regardless of how they feel about their own work, they welcome deep, nuanced discussion.

“I welcome criticism… it helps us grow,” Furda said.