Cinematographer, Filmmaker, and Photographer Lance J. Reha talks hometown inspiration, and preserving the beauty of Staten Island
by JENNIFER VIKSE
Native Staten Islander Lance J. Reha is a self-taught photographer and award-winning independent filmmaker, with accomplishments that include two NOVA awards from CTV, an American Communicator Award for Excellence in Film & Video, Directors Chair Film Festival Awards for Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking, and Best SI Short Film and Best Thriller nods at the Staten Island Film Festival. In addition, he has been invited to participate in the John A. Noble Maritime Collection’s auction for the last three years, and has won numerous photography contests for his work.
Industry: When did you begin your career as an artist?
Lance Reha: At an early age, I was interested in movies and photography. I wrote my first script with my brother, and my parents bought me my first Super 8 camera. Eventually, I bought a still camera to capture the behind-the-scenes action on set, and fell in love with photography. One day my wife told me, “Why don’t you go to Snug Harbor and shoot; the grounds are beautiful.” So I did, and that’s where I met Jaclyn Tacoronte from JMT Media. At the time, she worked with Snug Harbor and needed a photographer. She hired me to create new content for their social media pages and now, many years later, I’m still working as a photographer and absolutely loving it.
Industry: Do you have formal training?
LR: I did not go to school for filmmaking, photography, videography etc. I am completely self-taught. A lot of experimenting, reading and watching webinars!
Industry: Where does your inspiration come from?
LR: I often wonder that myself. I can easily be on set for so many hours or be out all day just to get that one great photo. I like to try to do something creative every day if I can.
Industry: What are your biggest challenges?
LR: As most artists will tell you, it’s a labor of love. When I shoot a job for fun or for brand campaigns, I enjoy it, but there is always the yearning to be out shooting a landscape or catching an eagle in flight, or to be on set saying “Action!” and watching it all come together. But the biggest challenge is coming up with new material, a new perspective on a photo or a new concept for a film. There are so many talented people out there, and to stand out takes something special.
Industry: And the greatest joy?
LR: Seeing people’s reaction to my work, and that can be a family or organization thanking me for capturing a new angle or perspective. Those photographs will live on well after I’m gone, and that means something to me.
Industry: What is your creative process?
LR: Inspiration can come at any time. Most of the time, my ideas come from a location. Recently, I was in an old basement and as soon as I saw it I thought, “I have to make something that includes this space.” It is that simple.
Industry: How does your work relate to Staten Island?
LR: I was born and raised here, and to this day still use the name Lake Films—the block where my career started. With photography, I like to unleash the hidden beauty of this island. I know I accomplished my goal when people say to me, “That’s Staten Island? I have never seen it like that before.”
Lance J. Reha