“Good photography is critical to business. If you want to portray yourself as a professional, you need a professional photo.” That’s where Bob Giglione comes in, having spent the last two decades photographing nearly every major corporate event and business leader on Long Island. Making his way from film to digital technology, from joining the then-fledgling Long Island Business News as its primary photographer in 1997 to operating his own successful photography business today, Giglione’s vision has remained the same: showcase Long Island success stories, and make the people behind those stories look good, portraying them as happy, successful, and seen. By spotlighting the best of Long Island business for so many years, the man behind the camera became the most important person in the room. And as he went from boardroom to ballroom and back over the decades, he observed: “There are a lot of great leaders on Long Island – more than people realize.”
An insurance executive for 20 years in his “first life,” Giglione always enjoyed photography, but it wasn’t until his wife gave him a book about becoming a professional photographer that he considered making a career change. He stopped by local photography studios and started getting work shooting weddings on weekends in the early ‘80s. By 1987, he had left the insurance industry and was photographing 100 to 150 weddings a year, but still felt that he wasn’t getting in on the goings-on on Long Island.
Looking to meet people and build his client base, Giglione got his feet wet covering ACIT (Advancement for Commerce, Industry, and Technology) events at the invitation of board member John Kominicki, who had taken the helm at Long Island Business News. Giglione’s artistic focus officially shifted to the business world when he joined LIBN as its primary photographer in 1997. For the next 20 years, Giglione used his art to bring a face to Kominicki’s vision for the paper: celebrate the innovation and accomplishments happening in Long Island’s office towers, research labs, farms, factories, wineries, and town halls. His mission is the same now that he’s out on his own: through his photography, Giglione seeks to expose Long Island as the untapped resource and hidden jewel it is.
While Giglione’s tenure at LIBN included photo shoots with major political figures (he covered presidential debates at Hofstra) and celebrities, the subjects he’s most enjoyed photographing are the businesses and leaders driving the Long Island economy. Tired of the constant cycle of negative news and focus on problems, Giglione used his camera to highlight the positive, business-oriented Long Island headlines that don’t get enough press. His photography focuses on high-profile networking events and business news, corporate movers and shakers, and what politicians are doing for you – not the scandals. Even his Hurricane Sandy work took a business angle, focusing on how businesses would recover from the devastating storm. His job at LIBN was to create images that would draw readers into these optimistic stories, catching key people in action and sharing their accomplishments. Now doing private business photography, Giglione’s goals have remained constant.
As a photographer, Giglione has adapted to rapidly changing technology: he started shooting film and switched to digital in 2006. He embraces new technology (“With digital, you can see your mistakes quicker, so you can make real-time modifications”; Instagram also serves as his current portfolio) but still respects the classic tools of the trade (“Pictures taken with a phone have their place, but professional photography requires the best equipment and lighting”). He also got an early taste of social media by posting event photos on the LIBN website the same night, upping the anticipation among attendees all vying for a shot. Through the years, he also learned to trust himself as the creative decision-maker (“A photo of a lawyer in front of the firm logo or a factory owner holding a widget don’t always make for the most exciting shots”).
Giglione, who recently chatted with CMM Managing Partner Joe Campolo about the parallels of their career paths (using different media in their own way, both seek to promote all that’s positive on Long Island), says he still enjoys the solitude of “imagining photos and seeing places.” When he’s not on assignment, he takes pictures walking around NYC. He’s passed down his love of the camera to his children, with two daughters who became photographers and a son who became a cameraman for CBS News (and another daughter who became an accountant!). The insurance executive-turned-photographer has no regrets about starting over in his career: “Photography isn’t what I do, it’s who I am.”
Learn more at https://www.bobgiglionephotography.com/.
Bob Giglione and Joe Campolo; Randi Shubin Dresner of Island Harvest.
Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy; Rep. Tom Suozzi.
John Kominicki; Rep. Peter King.
Left: news anchor Ernie Anastos.
Former Senator Al D’Amato; former Rep. Steve Israel.
Esther Fortunoff; Judge Leonard Wexler.