One sweltering night last week, we stopped by the grand opening at Ludlow Studios, the new photo studio and events space at 40 Ludlow St. A big crowd spilled out onto the sidewalk, where chicken sandwiches from Cheeky’s were being assembled/devoured, and guests could get a little fresh air. The space, 2300 square foot on the ground floor, is designed to provide an accessible alternative for locally based photographers who don’t want to schlep to Chelsea or Midtown.
Ludlow Studios is the brainchild of Bjorn Brandt, who’s lived in the building for the past six years. The studio was designed after consulting with friends in creative industries, who said there was a definite need for a boutique-style space on the East Side. There’s a custom-made cyclorama for photo shoots, plus an HD projector and high quality audio system. Brandt outfitted the dressing rooms in the back with imported tiles and even a luxury rain shower. He’s a contractor who’s got lots of experience renovating apartments throughout the neighborhood, so he didn’t break much of a sweat transforming the space.
In addition to photo and video projects, Ludlow Studios is available for all kinds of events, including benefits and birthday parties. In early May, the space was decked out for “10,000 Balloons,” an art installation meant to communicate a message of peace in the war torn city of Kabul. A Buddhist association convention for 120 people is another event on the calendar. In the months ahead, Brandt hopes to add a coffee and juice bar up front, or possibly in a nearby space on Ludlow Street.
But the studio is the heart of the new business. Brandt, a pianist, has lots of friends in creative fields, and some of them are expected to become clients. But almost every day, he said, a local resident just happens to walk by — and they’re intrigued by the possibilities at Ludlow Studios. The experience has reinforced what he already knew: there are a lot of photographers, producers and other artsy people living in the neighborhood, especially in the area below delancey Street.
You can find Bjorn hanging out in the studio much of the time, or you can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s even a ping pong table in the main area. But be forewarned: he’s allegedly got a wicked backhand.