The gritty landscape of The Bronx and Queens as the backdrop to my childhood queued up my life as a visual and interactive artist; a career in acting exposed me to photography, and the experience of a new medium opened new opportunities. My history with the camera began with shooting head shots for fellow actors, then models, and onward to a prosperous business in portraiture and event photography.

Growing up in New York City, my daily interactions with an abundance of urban characters paired harmoniously with the films of John Cassavetes. Like many, I developed a deep, personal connection with him and his works before our paths ever crossed. This connection became a reality in 1981 when we first met in the lobby of the Center Theater in Hollywood, where I expressed my desire to document his triad of stage productions: “Three Plays of Love and Hate.” Later, I was cast in a co-star role in one of the plays “Third Day Comes.” This first meeting still stands as a pivotal moment in my acting and photography careers.

I, through the eye of my Canon AE-1 camera, I witnessed John as he wrote, directed, produced and redesigned the theater to best showcase his “Three Plays of Love and Hate, “starring his wife Gena Rowlands, his friend Peter Falk, and the acclaimed Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight.

Bringing these images into public view, not seen since the final curtain went down in 1981, has been a dream of mine since their inception. Their exhibition is purely a celebration of the unprecedented experience we all had in the creation of these plays in 1981. In sharing the photos with a new generation of filmmakers and artists, we have the opportunity to bring to light the passion, intensity, artistry and sublime human wisdom with which Cassavetes’ legacy is woven and intrinsically immortalized.

Steve Reisch is a working photographer who currently resides in Sherman Oaks, California with his wife Ivy, and their daughter Johna who is a recent UCSB graduate.