First Impressions: Our Cultural Landscape Just Grew Richer

First Impressions

Our Cultural Landscape
Just Grew Richer

STANLEY KUBRICK, LONDON, 1969 (Photo by Dmitri Kasterine)

The Kasterine Farm is tucked into a charming valley in the Town of Exeter in northern Otsego County. The owners, Dmitri and Caroline Kasterine, are newcomers to the area, and they bring a wealth of cultural richness to our community. On December 10, the couple held an opening reception of their photography gallery, presenting to the attendees a stunning collection of photographs, the lifework of Dmitri.

By his count, Dmitri’s career has spanned 62 years—and counting. At 90, he shows no signs of slowing down. The breadth of his work is staggering. Working primarily as a portrait photographer, he has captured images of many of the most influential political and cultural figures of the last seven decades. From Mick Jagger to Queen Elizabeth, Roald Dahl to James Baldwin, George Carlin to Jonathan Winters, Dimitri’s portraits evoke the zeitgeist of our era. A good place to start exploring his work is to get his latest book, “Who, How, When, Where,” available for sale at both the gallery and the Richfield Springs Food Cooperative. Selecting from an earlier, larger collection, Dmitri has divided the book into two parts: “Portraits: Twentieth Century Cultural Figures and Others” and “Life Going On,” which draws from both his magazine and self-initiated work.

Beautiful as they are, the photographs in the book provide only part of the enjoyment of perusing. Equally intriguing are the journal entries that accompany each photograph. Some entries detail the circumstances of the shoot, some offer humorous anecdotes about the activity, and some offer wonderful philosophical musings. All provide rich context to each image. It is a great book to settle with by the fire.

The gallery, of course, offers much, much more. In addition to “Who, How, When, Where,” there are other books for sale, but the framed photos in the place are really worth the trip. In several rooms, portraits cover the walls. Going through just one room can take an hour! And the most valuable part of the experience is having Caroline and Dmitri right there to provide comment. They are truly entertaining and charming hosts.

After the gallery opening events, there will be a brief hiatus during the holidays and some of the winter. Look for a re-opening announcement in late February. Appointments can be arranged in January, however. Contact Caroline at The gallery is located at 1441 County Highway 23, Richfield Springs.

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