Camera Club
Rita Papazian
Norwalk-Citizen News

Aug. 18

Looking for a respite from the news of the day? I know I've been doing that. I wandered into the Fairfield Public Library the other day and to my surprise noticed the current photography exhibit in the Bruce Kershner Gallery. These are works by the photographers of the Norwalk Camera Club. There will be an opening reception for this exhibit tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m. at 1080 Old Post Rd. The exhibit continues through Sept. 2.

It is an exquisite exhibit offering subject matter for a variety of tastes. I especially enjoyed looking at the water scenes that included views of lighthouses and boats. Other photos include nature scenes, landscapes and people.

Jack DeWitt, who has been a Norwalk resident since 1955, is the Camera Club's treasurer. He's been taking photographs seriously since he retired from his position as Quality Assurance Manager for Bridgeport Metal Goods in 1994. He joined the camera club three years later. He finds photography relaxing and creative. He says his hobby is a welcomed change from the years he worked in industry. Besides, he says, he's seeing "a lot more now." 

Photography does that. It opens your eyes to your surroundings in ways that you have never appreciated before. It heightens awareness. DeWitt recalled the time he and his wife conducted a tag sale at their home. As he recalled, such an undertaking can have its moments of boredom. Sitting in his driveway during the course of a few days, he noticed that a spider was weaving a web nearby. He was attracted to the light and form of what he saw. He got his camera and started shooting the spider web.

Recently, DeWitt spent 11 days on the rehabilitation floor of Norwalk Hospital following surgeries on two knees. During his stay he observed the beautiful sunsets from his room. This time he was sorry he did not have his camera nearby. That is how life is for DeWitt nowadays. His eyes are open more to what's around him and he says he "appreciates what's going on."
DeWitt enjoys photographing a variety of subjects, including his prized Carin and Norfolk terriers, which he and his wife breed and show. Another favorite subject is the local baseball teams, the Little League and Babe Ruth and Cal Rifkin leagues. He told me how through his lens, the Little Leaguers look like the major leaguers. Then when he puts his camera down and they walk by, they are these little guys. 

He has begun selling his photographers to team parents. The moms love to buy them. The dads, he says, are another story. Sometimes, the photos remind the dads that that was the day the team lost the game.

At 78, DeWitt enjoys the camaraderie of the members of the Norwalk Camera Club, which was founded in 1943. The club's 70 members, which range from recent high school graduates to senior citizens, come from the greater Norwalk area. The club meets the second and fourth Monday of the month at Earthplace in Westport. On Sept. 11th at 8 p.m., the club will kick off the season with an open buffet meeting and slide show. Each month, the first meeting has a guest speaker. The second meeting is a photo competition with judges rating the photos. The scores accumulate through the year. At the end of the year, the photographer with the most points is named Photographer of the Year. One year DeWitt received the honor and two other years he was a runner-up.

Like DeWitt, I enjoy photography. I seem to grab my camera more these days. Maybe it's a defense against reports of the fighting in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and the political rhetoric between Lieberman and Lamont.

Yes, we may need to engage in more viewing of photo exhibits to fortify ourselves as we countdown to the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

These days I've been ever mindful of the importance of art in our lives. Art, indeed, is all around us, especially this week as we look out to the beauty of Long Island Sound, the boats bobbing in the marina waters, and the lush greenery in Silvermine. 

The Norwalk Camera Club invites you to see your environment through their members' eyes.

Copyright 2006 Rita Papazian All rights reserved.