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Arts / Theater / Dance

Jim Russell, left, Francis Fox
As you can probably imagine, sometimes my job as a news photographer makes me uncomfortable.
We regularly go to house fires, accidents, courtroom trials and other events that are often a scene of tragedy.
So, last month, when I was asked to get a photo of suspended Belchertown Police Chief Francis Fox, who was to meet with the Select Board at Town Hall for an executive session that was called as a result of an alleged DUI by the chief, I wasn't looking forward to it.
I didn't know how the chief would react to a picture. He might allow a shot, or even talk to the media; or, conversely, avoid the media until the executive session, where there would be no photos allowed and I would have nothing.
I decided to arrive about an hour before the meeting. The room where the Select Board meets was dark with the door closed. I listened, looked and found Fox talking with his attorney in the Town Hall's auditorium.
I simply walked in, made eye contact with Fox, and took a few photos from about 25 feet away. I then asked if they planned to talk to the media and Fox's attorney answered "no plan to at this time" and I left the room to give them back their privacy.
Job over, right? No. They had to make the walk from the auditorium to the meeting room and that could be a picture, too.
The nearly hour-long wait was tiring, but eventually Fox and his attorney walked to the meeting room. But instead of entering, they stopped outside the room and lingered in the hallway. I still don't know why.
This I hadn't expected. There they were, standing a few feet away for several minutes, as I took more pictures. It must be years since I felt this awkward and uncomfortable, and I'm sure they felt it, too.
Relief arrived in the form of Jim Russell, a reporter for The Republican.
Just before the meeting was to start, Russell bounded up the stairs and stopped short as he saw the chief.
"Oh, hi chief. Hey, care if I get a picture? Russell asked.
"Well, everyone else has," Fox replied.
Fox then put his back up against a white wall and posed for a shot for Russell. 
And I, of course, took this picture.

Jerrey Roberts’ Photo Gallery: All in a day’s work

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sometimes my job as a news photographer makes me uncomfortable; we regularly go to house fires, accidents, trials and other events that are often a scene of tragedy. So, when I was asked to get a photo of suspended Belchertown Police Chief Francis Fox, I wasn’t looking forward to it. Fox was about to meet with the town’s select board …

Art among the hammers: Steampunk exhibit hidden in plain sight on hardware store shelves

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A hardware store is not the first place one might think of as a venue for an art show. But for artist Dean Nimmer, the idea has been brewing for some time. Nimmer, a retired chairman of the painting and printmaking programs at Mass College of Art and Design, has curated just such …

‘From the Boat to Obama’: Play aims to fill historical void about African-American experiences

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mary Taylor says she doesn’t remember learning anything in school about the African-American experience back when she was growing up in Georgia and then Florida — except that most blacks had been slaves, predominantly in the southern United States, until the end of the Civil War. Nothing about the African-American writers and artists …

Carol Lollis’ Photo Gallery: Kids in motion

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I love taking pictures of children; I always have. And I love that this picture is all motion — illustrating, to me, how happy children can be in the simple act of playing. Here’s what else I love …

Two plays paint human portraits of the chaos of war

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS STORY WAS CHANGED TO CORRECT THE PERFORMANCE DATES OF “SOLDER’S HEART,” WHICH ARE SEPT. 18-20. Pittsburgh playwright Tammy Ryan was picking up her daughter from kindergarten in 2007 when she noticed the mother standing next …

Weekend Planner — Exhibit: ‘Farm Stands’ at Leverett Library

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

“When I moved to the Pioneer Valley 17 years ago, I was delighted to find numerous roadside farm stands filled with juicy tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, berries and, as the autumn harvest came in, squashes, pumpkins and root vegetables,” …

Keeping Tabs on the Arts: ‘Baghdad to Bach’ at Smith College and much more happening in the arts this week in the Valley

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

‘Baghdad to Bach’ “Baghdad to Bach: The Second Concert,” a music and spoken-word event, will be held Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Helen Hills Hills Chapel, 123 Elm St. in Northampton. The event is presented by the …

Art Maker: Megan LaBonte | Photographer

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Megan LaBonte’s current project is called “A Year in Black and White,” for which the Northampton photographer focuses her energy, she says, on creating black-and-white images that cover a year’s time (July-July). “I’m trying to capture the mystery …

Carol Lollis’ Photo Gallery: Cock of the roost

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I worked on Labor Day this year and my assignment was to take pictures at the Three County Fair in Northampton. Upon hearing of my holiday assignment, a friend suggested I visit the poultry barn. I’m not going …

Back in Black — and White and Color: UMass exhibit debuts iconic photography of one-time art teacher Chuck Close

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Chuck Close had a brief but dramatic stay at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the mid-1960s. As an art professor from 1965 to 1967, the young painter and photographer put on his first-ever solo exhibition at the …

‘Before You Became Improbable’: Play immerses actors, audiences in words of Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The poetry of Emily Dickinson continues to be an inspiration for any number of creative projects. In Amherst this year alone, three writers read from new novels based on some aspect of her life, a play about her …

Art Maker: Stephanie Kellogg | Ballerina

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stephanie Kellogg is a devoted ballerina. The 23-year-old Chesterfield resident typically takes class most mornings, then teaches 14 classes a week (pre-ballet through intermediate levels) at Pioneer Valley Ballet in Easthampton. She’s also just entered what she calls …

Keeping Tabs on the Arts

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

At Historic Northampton ‘twixt & tween,” an exhibit by Donnabelle Casis, will open with a reception Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and will remain on view through Oct. 4 at the Historic Northampton Museum, 46 Bridge St. …