From the first frame to the last, Dylan Priest‘s videos on Pittsburgh makers in the act of creating are captivating. The makers are completely at ease and showcased in beautifully rendered lighting in an intimate setting as they explain how they do their craft.
This is how Priest chooses to profile local artists who, as he puts it, are “bringing new life to the rustbelt.”
Priest, a full-time photographer for American Eagle and freelance photographer and videographer, has titled his independent video series “Made in Pittsburgh,” and has already uploaded two stunning installments to Vimeo.
“I am doing these on my own as a personal project. I am new to Pittsburgh (almost two years!) and I kept seeing or meeting people creating cool things. As someone new to the area I had an idea of what I thought Pittsburgh was going to be like. Once I moved here I realized how wrong that idea was,” says Priest.
Reiko Yamamoto’s video, Priest’s second in the series, opens with scenes of her morning breakfast routine with her two little ones. She describes how her ceramics come in between her time with her family. She seems like she could be a neighbor, or the friend of a friend.
This is what Priest is able to capture so well. These artists do not just have exceptional skills, they stay true to a simplistic identity. They are proud of where they live and work, and draw inspiration from that pride.
That’s the reason that Michael Studebaker, whom Priest introduced us to in his pilot episode, stamps each of his products with an engraving that claims it for “Pittsburgh.” “I’m very proud of the fact that I make these things in Pittsburgh, but it’s also to reference the way tools used to be made and the way things used to be made,” Studebaker says in the film.
“I find it really interesting to do portraits whether they are videos or stills as I want to give people a space to tell their stories. I am hoping to do more of these in the upcoming months but it’s a bit of a labor of love.”
Watch the full videos here.