Please meet a new addition to the Art Mecca family, Sonny Dugal. Sonny is a photographer, traveler, and so much more. His incredible work speaks for itself, but we did ask him a few questions about his background and how he works:
Tell us about your background: Where did you grow up and how did you find yourself in Charleston?
I was born in Rangoon, Burma and spent my early childhood there. Moved to India in the early 60sand did all my schooling and universities there, as well as five years in advertising.
I came to New York City in 1980 on an invitation to run a weekly newspaper. Less than a year later, I was invited to visit the Charleston area...never looked back!
After a few years as an Innkeeper / restaurateur / golf director, my wife and I opened "East of Eden" - an emporium for home accents gathered from around the world. A few years ago we re-branded as the "Charleston Knob Company" ( see www.charlestonknobcompany.com )
All of that serves to illustrate my four decades of exposure to design, decor and the visual arts.
When did you start taking photos as an art form?
In the 80s when I started exhibiting in a limited way at Piccolo/Spoleto and around the Southeast.
How did you learn and improve as an artist?
I have never taken/received any formal instruction in photography, but have been honing my skills and evolving my vision over the years. After working with lab professionals occasionally in print labs, and then embracing the digital revolution. I have been traveling far and wide most of my life, taking in galleries and museums, as well as gaining inspiration from two local master-photographers Ron Rocz and Jack Alterman !
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
"Elsewhere" was the title/theme of my recent show at a local gallery and that embodies my vision of a subject - whether it is in your backyard and under your nose, or in some faraway place. Architecture, candid portraits, street photography, unusual juxtapositions are all favorite recurring subjects in my work. A different point of view defines my perspective.
What kind of cameras do you use?
I am not a commercial or professional photographer so I don't obsess over equipment. I never forget the best response, ever, to this kind of question :
A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific Stove.'” Sam Haskins
Where are your favorite travel destinations and why?
Many of my "favorite travel destinations" are places I've not yet gone to ! To me, the most wonderful places where I have actually been are where common people, religious architecture and natural geography have come together. Florence, Bagan, Quebec, Lisbon are among my all-time favorites.
Where is your studio, or where do you do your finishing work?
I don't have a studio as such. I live and work in my home of 27 years in the Charleston area, never more than 5 minutes from a great photo op.
What's your next adventure?