The recent launch of his latest business venture, Urban Design Gallery, consummately captures fireball fine arts photographer Michael Bambino’s long-awaited life’s dream in cinematic streetscape splendor. Known as one of Cincinnati’s top high-end wedding documentarians for the better part of the past two decades, the effortlessly effusive Bambino timed his late-June online gallery unveiling to almost 20 years to the day of the sale of his first black-and-white photo. Urban Design Gallery showcases sizable limited-edition prints of Bambinos’ exclusive Cincinnati, Chicago and New York street scenes and Italian gardens. Each photo touts Bambino’s unique composition and signature back story.
“Being a wedding photographer was never my original plan,” Bambino confesses with a chuckle. But the opportunity presented itself, he dove in and soon became one of the area’s most sought-after wedding photographers. It was his best friend – now wife – Nidi Bedi, who spurred him on to pursue his lifelong desire to visit Italy and photograph its beauty.
“She said, ‘You love fine art. I want you to live your dream, go to Italy, and photograph it. Don’t just talk about it, do it!’” Bambino recalls. “She was my inspiration. She gave me the courage.” The positive response to his images when he returned from Italy was overwhelming, notes Bambino. “I knew I was headed in the right direction.”
Bambino acknowledges his success springs from not only his passion for photography, but from surrounding himself with very smart, passionate people. Bedi, director of hospitality and operations at Ramada Plaza and Elements Conference & Event Center, will be a huge part of the success of Urban Design Gallery by heading marketing and producing the Red Carpet Charity Galas. Michelle Jackson, a fellow Bambino International artist, brings innovative talents to the table, and will be in charge of the custom design for all limited edition prints.
Urban Design Gallery is not merely a gallery website where you just order a stock print, Bambino emphasizes. “It’s not stock imagery. It’s beautiful art. It’s personal.”
The gallery schedules private consultations to assess customers’ art/design needs. Customers can also order prints during the three galas he plans to host each year. New work will be released weekly or monthly. Part of the artwork proceeds will be donated to local charitable organizations because, Bambino says, “It’s important to me to give back to the urban community.”
Prints come in four sizes, each unique to the individual image: 8 feet (museum), 6 feet (gallery), 4 feet (classic/home), and 2 feet (petite). Post-card size prints, prefect for gifts, are also available. Each limited-edition collection consists of 20 prints each.
Why 20 prints to each collection?
“I like even numbers,” Bambino says, with his infectious lively laugh. “But seriously, we work really hard on the choices of photos we offer. I don’t want to be known for the number of prints, I want to be known for the quality. Otherwise, the art loses its power.” A portion of that power, Bambino believes, emanates from the story behind the picture.
“I keep records of everything I shoot – the bracketing, the time it was shot, the inspiration for the shot, my thoughts while shooting it,” he explains. “Everything is intentional.”
Bambino includes those details on each print. “I want that to be my thumbprint,” Bambino says. “It makes the art more personal, more interesting.”