Darien's Cole DeBeradinis is just 14 years old, but his photography impressed Pasta Nostra's Joe Bruno so much that he offered his restaurant as the backdrop for the eighth-grader's first professional show. The photos were unveiled earlier this week.
"His mom is a longtime patron of Pasta Nostra," said Bruno. "When she showed me some prints of her son's work, I was amazed. He was only 13 at the time, and the shots were really beautiful so I suggested that I'd do a small show for him if she was interested and if there were enough pieces. She mounted a show big enough to fill the entire room, and a lot of really good work did not even get printed."
The exhibit includes nature-focused and abstract shots representing DeBeradinis' favorite photo themes. The work is marked by deeply saturated and vibrant colors, their richness and clarity providing an almost three-dimensional view of simple and beautiful subjects -- a buttercup, a red, worn garden glove, a hovering butterfly -- the kind of uplifting and rejuvenating photography that carries the viewer from the doldrums of late winter to the flourish of spring.
Though his biggest thrills still come from spending time with his dad, skiing and mountain biking, the young photographer finds peace in his creative endeavor.
"I feel a sense of calm when I am behind the lens of a camera," he said. "Editing my work, and having control over the finished piece brings me a great feeling of accomplishment."
While Pasta Nostra has also been home to countless art exhibits, its passionate and discerning owner is quite selective about both the food and the art he serves up to his fans.
The exhibit will continue through April. Pasta Nostra is located at 116 Washington St. in SoNo and is open for dinner weekly from Wednesday through Saturday.