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Young Valley photographers showcased in Cummington show

  • Fourteen-year-old Natalie Robinson of Ware has a photograph of girls lying in a pile of leaves exhibited in “Places we Live, Play and Learn: Narratives of Life by Western Ma Youth Photographers,” a photography show at the Cummington Community House running through January.<br/><br/>PHOTO COURTESY OF NATALIE ROBINSON

    Fourteen-year-old Natalie Robinson of Ware has a photograph of girls lying in a pile of leaves exhibited in “Places we Live, Play and Learn: Narratives of Life by Western Ma Youth Photographers,” a photography show at the Cummington Community House running through January.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF NATALIE ROBINSON Purchase photo reprints »

  • "Sun glimmers" by Kate Sector, 15, of Montgomery is among the photographs on display in an exhibit at the Cummington Community House, which features pieces by 20 young Valley photographers.<br/>PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE SECTOR

    "Sun glimmers" by Kate Sector, 15, of Montgomery is among the photographs on display in an exhibit at the Cummington Community House, which features pieces by 20 young Valley photographers.
    PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE SECTOR Purchase photo reprints »

  • Fourteen-year-old Natalie Robinson of Ware has a photograph of girls lying in a pile of leaves exhibited in “Places we Live, Play and Learn: Narratives of Life by Western Ma Youth Photographers,” a photography show at the Cummington Community House running through January.<br/><br/>PHOTO COURTESY OF NATALIE ROBINSON
  • "Sun glimmers" by Kate Sector, 15, of Montgomery is among the photographs on display in an exhibit at the Cummington Community House, which features pieces by 20 young Valley photographers.<br/>PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE SECTOR

Sunsets, a bird’s-eye view of Easthampton, students lying in a leaf pile snapping pictures of the sky, and cats are some of the images photographed by children ages 8 to 18 that are in the show “Places We Live, Play and Learn: Narratives of Life by Western Massachusetts Youth Photographers” at the Cummington Community House.

“It looks great up. I’m very happy,” said Sienna Wildfield, who organized the exhibit. Wildfield is executive director of Hilltown Families, an online family activity reference website. The show includes narratives written by each of the 20 photographers, who share “their view of life and the place they live,” Wildfield said. Those places include communities from Cummington to Easthampton to Ware.

There are also photographs by seven girls from a youth identity-building program called Youth Action Coalition, GirlsEyeView Ware, which is taught by Miriam Shafer. One girl in GirlsEyeView, Natalie Robinson, 14, writes this about her hometown, Ware: “My community, at first glance, isn’t the greatest of things. It seems small and shabby and there’s lots of room for improvement. And although that may be true, there are also the little things about it that make it one of the best places, out of many, that I’ve ever lived.”

One of Robinson’s photos won honorable mention in a juried adult show at Freedom Trail Gallery at Valley Frameworks in Amherst in November.

Chesterfield native Persephone Sarantidis, 10, is exhibiting a photo of a small waterfall on Chesterfield’s Stevenson Brook that she dubbed “Niagara Falls Jr.” when she was 5. She visits there when she’s “sad, happy or just bored,” she writes in the narrative that accompanies her photo. “Though small, Jr. has a very strong current.”

Nesysha Carter, 13, captured a bird’s-eye view of her hometown, Easthampton, while standing on Mount Tom on a brisk, cold day.

Fifteen-year-old Brenda Casko-Thews of Northampton experienced how a photography mistake can become a treasure: Trees in her picture of Pulaski Park in Northampton, taken one April night, unexpectedly came out orange, but that turns out to be the main reason she enjoys her picture. Viewers will likely be drawn to the image’s orange glow for that reason too.

The show will run through January at the Community House at 33 Main St.

•••

Plainfield ingenuity

When 20-year-old Engine 1, the No. 2 pumper truck of the Plainfield Fire Department, stopped working while on a mutual aid call to Ashfield on Dec. 1, the department faced an estimated pump repair bill of $5,000. It also meant the pumper would be out of service for a week while being fixed at a Walpole specialty shop.

But thanks to the ingenuity and know-how of a team of town employees, the pumper was back in service in short order and at a significant savings for the town.

According to Assistant Fire Chief David Alvord, department members had noticed that Engine 1 had been leaking water — and getting worse — in recent months.

“Don’t forget we’re in a small town without hydrants and we’re pumping out of streams,” Alvord said. Siphoning water with grit eventually wears out a pump’s valves, he said.

When the engine’s water-delivery system finally quit, Fire Chief Dennis Thatcher and Highway Superintendent Merton Taylor Jr. ordered parts and rebuilt the damaged valves in-house. Working with longtime Highway Department employee and former firefighter Frank “Sparky” Skaling, the trio got the complicated pump system repaired in three days and the pumper back in service for under $500.

In this case, the pump’s age had an unexpected benefit. “Parts are so expensive. Lots of newer pumps are very difficult to work with,” Alvord said.

•••

Library concert

A concert featuring the Peace in the Valley singers will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at Meekins Library in Williamsburg, the first of three concerts in a winter concert series sponsored by the Friends of Williamsburg Libraries and local cultural councils.

The 20-member group will sing songs of peace, love, struggle and “reverence and irreverence,” led by Andrea Ayvazian, the pastor of Haydenville Congregational Church, and the church’s choir director, Jeff Olmsted. The concert is free, but donations to the library are gratefully accepted.

•••

Sandy benefit

A benefit concert to raise money for the people affected by Superstorm Sandy will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Village Church on Main Street in Cummington. People are invited to bring music, food to serve during intermission and their donations. All contributions will be sent to the American Red Cross. If you cannot attend but would like to donate, send contributions to Village Church Sandy Benefit, P.O. Box 76, Cummington, MA 01026. Those who would like to contribute music, food or help can call Pat Keith at 634-5084.

Laura Rodley can be reached at lrodley.gazette@gmail.com.

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