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Gayle Hedrington

August 2, 2010


All Aboard, Riding the Rails

For most of June and part of July, I traveled to various railroad stations, rail yards, and old depots throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, in hopes of getting a photo accepted for "All Aboard, Riding the Rails" exhibition at the PhotoStop Gallery in White River Junction.

The exhibit would be juried by Tony Decaneas. Decaneas is a photographer and the founder and former owner of Panopticon Gallery, one of the oldest photography galleries in the country. Decaneas' photographic projects include Photographs of Greece, Portraits of America from a Moving Train, and Ten Days in Eastern Europe. In addition, he published a book named Pavlia, that is full of photos of the village where his father grew up.

Years ago, I entered several competitions and had one of my photos in an exhibit at the Library Arts Center in Newport, but that was a long time ago when I was taking pictures with my Pentax 35 millimeter camera. After digital cameras came in vogue I felt like my Pentax was a dinosaur and I put it away. Eventually I bought a point and shoot digital camera but used it only for photos of the family or the pugs.

It wasn't until last year when my friend Robin Shepard and I went out exploring one day, that I started taking pictures for the sake of capturing a shot. I had forgotten how much fun it was, and throughout this year I have been honing my skills with my point 'n shoot camera.

Most of my friends have larger SLR digital cameras, but I have not had the funds to purchase one. However, I believe that it is the eye of the photographer that is important. The camera is secondary. This was my thought when I entered into the juried competition.


Id never been juried, although some of my friends are, and I was determined to get one photo accepted. Maybe just to show one friend who jokingly commented But I have a real camera, when we were in Manchester recently, and I was taking photos.

My first rule was to have fun with the project. My second rule was to do my best. After that, let the universe take its course.

Visiting all the railroad stations and depots brought joy and wonderful memories of my childhood. I shared my photos with my two brothers who love trains as much as I. After a shoot, Id go home and edit the photos until three or four in the morning. The project enveloped my daily life, researching, shooting and editing.

For the competition, we were allowed up to five photos submitted digitally. Of course, I wanted to send in five. Narrowing all the photos down to only five was the hardest part of the competition. Lucky for me, I have many friends who helped me narrow the field.

Oddly enough when I received an email that two of my photos were chosen for the exhibit, I was in Illinois for the funeral of my sister-in-law. Feeling the joy of the email and the sorrow of her passing was an emotional roller coaster for me.

It wasnt until I arrived home that the full impact hit me. I am in awe, surprised, happy, honored, and nervous. Only 38 photographs were chosen from 100 submitted by 19 photographers from all over New England.

Id like to thank my friends Sasha Wolfe, Belinda Pitrowski, Robin Shepard, Minnette Moore Sweeney, daughter Kristina Miller, and Ken Schuster who helped me along the way when I hit some bumps.

The exhibit opens on September 3 and runs through September 25 at the PhotoStop Gallery located in the Tip Top Building in White River Junction. It is in conjunction with Railroad Days in White River on September 11, 2010.

I think Ill have to find a way to get a real camera...


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