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🗣 Locals to Know: Meet George Lange, the Garfield-based photographer with shots of Bruce Springsteen and the Obamas

George Lange holds up a camera with its focus on his eye.

Thanks for talking to The Incline! Tell us a bit more about your photography practice.

First, I LOVE The Incline. I have been a big fan since it started and I refer to it all the time to figure out what is happening in our community. (Editor’s note: Thanks, George!)

My photo practice started in the driveway of my parents’ house in Squirrel Hill. There is a picture of me at seven, with a camera around my neck, leaning against a white Chevy. I have taken pictures every day since. After graduating from Allderdice, I went to Rhode Island School of Design for photography, I mentored in NY with Annie Leibovitz, then I launched a wild career that has taken me all over the world and allowed me to photograph many amazing people. I search for joy with all of my subjects—from presidents to celebrities, to people like us! I have this great curiosity to discover how we are all special and share that through my photographs.

You’ve worked for some big names over the years. What have been some of the highlights of your career?

I’ve had incredible experiences. Photographing the Obamas was thrilling. Taking the only posed photo of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates together was a high wire act. I put the cast of Friends in boxes we had built into a huge wall at the height of their fame—it was wild. Mac Miller was like a force of nature when I photographed him. I am sitting here looking around my studio answering this question—every single image looking back at me from frames on the wall feels like a highlight, and they all have a story to tell.

What brought you back to the ’Burgh in 2019?

My mother lived a long and incredibly rich life. She tapped into everything that Pittsburgh’s cultural scene had to offer—theater, lectures, music, [and] almost every single movie that was released. When she passed away, the house she had lived in for over 85 years was telling us to come back from Boulder. I always thought home was where the heart was and where you were living was always home. Moving back to Pittsburgh with my wife, Stephie, and two boys took the idea of hometown to a whole new level. Now, I am really home, and the outpouring of love and generosity has been incredibly wonderful.

A woman in a patterned head wrap superimposed over the New York Times.
Collaborative work by George and his wife Stephie from their News Break series.

Garfield is one of Pittsburgh’s most creative neighborhoods—how have you connected with other local artists and organizations on Penn?

I love Garfield. Truly amazing things in life don’t happen while looking at a screen. Everytime I walk down Penn, good things happen. Just last week, I bumped into Paul Rosenblatt, an extraordinary architect and neighbor whom I had never met. When we got together, it was like we could have lit up the street with all the connections we shared. I love everyone at Spork (and Spork Pit) and the generous People’s Indian Restaurant, who fed so many free lunches during he pandemic. I love Silver Eye Center for their commitment to the art of photography. I love Gluten Free Goat for making treats for my children with celiac. I love Rocky at Kraynick’s Bike Shop and John Mahood at Imagebox. I love the whole family who runs the Mexican food truck, Taquitos. Sean and the whole crew at Daily Bread blow me away with kindness and incredible drops of Pittsburgh-born streetwear. I love the youth football program Bob Jones runs, the Garfield Gators. I love the parade on the sidewalk outside my window. The only bad thing about being part of the Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn days is that I can’t visit all the other artists when all their doors are thrown open.

Where are we likely to find you out and about in the ‘Burgh?

I spend a lot of time at youth sports with my kids and professional sports, too. My first introduction to youth sports in Pittsburgh was working on a big assignment for Dick’s on the “Emotional Side of Youth Sports.” Cafe Margaux is my favorite place for breakfast—big bright windows, great coffee, and a killer breakfast sandwich. I love any place Hal B. Klein recommends. We are at the JCC almost daily. I will be with groups of kids at Kennywood way too much this summer.

Where can our readers find you and your work?

I opened Lange Studio at 5427 Penn Ave. this month. We are open by appointment to see prints of older classics and new work. For photo shoots and groups you can contact the studio at [email protected].

Web: georgelange.com

IG: @george.lange

TikTok: coming soon!

Interested in being featured and want to share your own cool project in the ‘Burgh? Send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TI Locals to Know 2022” and you just might  see yourself in a future newsletter.