history

Photography: In the artist's eye

... the editors pick on Stringer Louise Fennell

from the SilverStringers

Louise Fennell is a SilverStringer. She has been for six, maybe eight years. She is unusual. She is talented. She is someone special.

Louise is an exceptional photographer. Not a pro, but an avid amateur with a really dramatic sense of what's good and what's beautiful. She's the kind of photojournalist that an editor can send out on assignment -- and be absolutely positive she will come home with something really special.

It's her eye, her sense of form, her idea of beauty -- that gives her this special edge.




The sculpture at the DeCordova Museum is beautiful -- even more so when photographed amid plantings.



The people simply add perspective to the huge, colorful balloons. At right, how can you beat a rare owl and a beautiful lady.



Down to Rockport -- plenty to shoot. It's just a matter of seeing what's there.



But who is this Louise Fennell in real life? She is a senior, an attractive (a little overweight) mother of four beautiful daughters, and a grandmother. She is now single, holds down two part time jobs, travels extensively and inexpensively, experiences and records everything we put in front of her. She is also an editor of the Melrose Mirror and a charter member of the Stringers' photo team.

She is a native of the North Shore and has a broad knowledge of all the beautiful spots that make New England the fantastic place it is. But then she is talented, and can find beauty with her close-up lens, zooming in on an ice-splattered bush, searching for minute creatures that create wonderment on her computer screen and capturing the spectacular that others seem to miss.



A friend is caught in another sculpture at DeCordova.



Placid scenes on the North Shore.



Beautiful daughters, handsome grandchildren, and a practiced photo of Mount Hood clubhouse.



What she can't do is run a computer efficiently. Too many rules for this free spirit. But give her a camera and she'll give you a handful of masterpieces -- in a matter of minutes. Funny, but with the advent of digital cameras ten years ago, she is still stingy with her production -- it has to be unique and unusual for her to press the button. While the rest of us come home with 150 frames, Louise has 30 or 40.

That makes a statement about the rest of us. Quantity doesn't guarantee quality.



Gloucester harbor, mist, and a setting sun.



Frolicking photographer; Louise had to lay among the seaweed to get this low-down lighthouse shot.




"That leaf just appealled to me", she said. A windmill becomes backdrop for an eroding beach. At right is a different view of Nubble Light, down Maine.




Before digital Louise shot with a Pentax -- the usual assortment of three lenses with which she created an ranging collection of slides. Her favorite has been a telephoto, for she has a natural sense for precise cropping of a scene. When digital came along, I talked her into using Nikon, and she bought a reconditioned Nikon Coolpix 950, a small, articulated electronic wonder that produced endless beautiful photos for her.

Her lack of understanding computers led her to pile ALL her photos on memory cards. I would copy them to the Stringers' machines, but she never erased any of her CF cards.



The quarry and stone crusher on the Saugus/Melrose/Malden line, at dawn.



Portrait of painter. The author becomes a prop for a shot of a 20,000 year old eratic.



Stand at the Topsfield Fair, a gaggle of geese in Wakefield, and a working boat at Gloucester harbor.



She is befuddled by the inner workings of the Mirror's operating program. So much so that she lets the others put her stories together -- like this one, for instance. But then she has thousands of marvelous pictures that have never been published -- until another editor comes along to search her basket.

It's not that she's not smart -- on the contrary, she went back to college in middle age and earned a bachelors degree in English. But now "retired" she holds down two part time jobs that don't exactly call on her college background -- one as an usher at Boston stage theaters, where she gets to see all the latest shows. The other is working for a community college in nearby Bedford.

But as with the entire Mirror staff, producing the Mirror is a part time, fun thing. During what spare time she has left, she teaches a calisthenics class at the "Y", and is a videographer on her hometown television station, Beverly.

She is a busy lady.

As for her photography, I've seen her circle and circle a small flower in the forest, looking for the right angle, waiting for the right light. She is precise, exacting and thorough with her hobby, for sure.

Now if we could only get her to download her pictures.




Back to Slayton Tower on Mount Hood, looking at Boston five miles south.  



In New York a salesman is overcome, and show horses at the Topsfield Fair.



After the hurricane. At right, there is a glass between photographer and photographee.



Frost at Mount Hood, Vermont's State House, and the grand opening of the Zakim Bridge in Boston.



June 6, 2008







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