Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Riverside Industries clients try photography

  • Matt Lamorie looks at a photograph he took during a  photography class at Riverside industries.
  • Charlotte Shulenburg takes a picture during a  a photography class at Riverside industries.<br/>
  • Charlotte Shulenburg takes a picture during a  a photography class at Riverside industries.
  • Hollie Motyka looks at a  photo she took in a class at Riverside industries.
  • Matt Lamorie during a photograph   class at Riverside industries.<br/>

— For the last six years, clients at Riverside Industries with developmental and other disabilities have been able to paint, draw and otherwise create art as part of the nonprofit’s art program. But those activities can be hard for some would-be artists who do not have the muscle control or other abilities to get the art from their imagination and onto paper.

That was the case for Matthew Lamorie, 37, whose cerebral palsy prevents him from being able to draw a straight line.

Now, he is one of five clients who have been snapping photographs around the historic mill building at 1 Cottage St. as part of the nonprofit’s new photography program. An adjustable arm mounted to his wheelchair holds the camera steady so he can take pictures.

“I feel this has opened up a whole new world for me,” Lamorie said after a Feb. 22 class, where the novice photographers critiqued and edited their images on a computer with the help of their two teachers, Halley Studer-Sweetman and volunteer and photographer Bill Rowley.

“It’s really cool to see them come alive and experience the joy of photography,” Rowley said during the group’s March 1 class. “Initially some of them seemed almost afraid to press the button, now they’re comfortable with the equipment and they have real opinions about what makes a picture.”

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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