My Side Project: Vintage Hollywood Movie Lights Restored & Repurposed

After 30 years as a commercial photographerI've finally got my 1st hobby! 

Really wanted to be a painter, I really wanted to be a rock star. My career ended up giving me the chance to be neither of these things – and both. I take photographs. Mostly of musicians. It’s a pretty good life, for the most part. Assuming you don’t have any qualms about setting up cameras in a graveyard at midnight. Or being surrounded by 300 angry scorpions who don’t want to be in a studio. Or trying to keep a singer’s energy level up when she’s just come off a seven-month world tour with the worst case of dysentery in recorded history. All in a day’s work.

And the movie lights? 

These lights are the real deal. Meaning that they're old, and we’re designed and built as working tools for the movie industry. Each has been meticulously restored, rebuilt and rewired for home use. Finding great examples is a labor of love. These are the real-deal – the lights that literally helped define Hollywood’s golden age. The character and cool factor are far beyond the offshore knockoffs you’ll find in upscale malls. Complete with period- and manufacturer-correct rolling stand. Difficult to find, and nearly impossible in such immaculate condition.


"Thats What They Said"

"Often, lamps and stands are discovered separately. Scarpati is a stickler for detail, so he actually insists on matching every light to a stand made in the same time period. New wiring, a fresh bulb suitable for home use, and you’re good to go. If by now you’re realizing that all this entails a tremendous amount of sleuthery and hard work, you are correct. Occasionally, the internet will offer up a similar example of industrial hardware from Hollywood’s golden age. But nobody, nobody, even comes close to this level of restoration." -  ”Royal Circus“

"But for purists like John Scarpati, a Virginia photographer who restores and sells these lights in small batches, the only way to showcase them is in their original form – dents and all. “I still disassemble every part and do a complete off-frame restoration; I just don’t over-polish,” he says. “These lights exude an unparalleled sense of aesthetics.” His collection consists mainly of Hollywood classics: Mole-Richardson, Otto K Olesen and Bardwell & McAlister, whose imposing keg lights with metal roller stands and 6in Fresnel lenses are particularly sought-after.” -  "Financial Times“

"American photographer John Scarpati has taken to scouring old Hollywood studio supply warehouses in search of restoration-worthy examples. made between the 1920’s and 1940’s, each light is a one-of-a-kind original, complete with vintage stand or tripod.they exude the sort of patina that can’t be matched by cheaply mass-produced repros, yet ironically, the lights in his etsy shop actually cost less than the replicas available in upscale malls. ‘my personal favorite finish is a heavy, industrial, vibe,’ explains scarpati. ‘completely refurbished, but still keeping its vintage look intact. less of a polished finished and more real deal.’”-   "Designboom“

"Restoring these old beauties is definitely a labor of love for Scarpati. After tracking down one or two of these rare creatures stashed in a forgotten corner of some cavernous L.A. warehouse — a feat in itself — he gets them to his personal workshop, where he completely breaks down each to its individual parts. Every knob, lens and metal component is cleaned, stripped and refinished, with impossibly rare missing parts found and fitted.“Vintage Hollywood lights re-purposed as modern works of art.
 Over the three  decades music photographer John Scarpati’s lens has chronicled rock, metal and punk acts including Poison, Circle Jerks, Social Distortion, New York Dolls and Rush.  Scarpati has most recently taken to scouring old Hollywood studio supply warehouses in search of restoration-worthy lights to restore for domestic use. The lights were usually made between the 1920's and 1940’s, each is a one-of-a-kind original, complete with vintage stand or tripod. They exude the sort of patina that can’t be matched by mass-produced reproductions.”-   "the/HeaveyCurrent"

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