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Older adults share their perspectives in photography exhibit

“A Photographic Journey of Winston-Salem as Told Through the Eyes of Her Elders” celebrates the stories and viewpoints of 10 photography students.

Group of 10 people standing and sitting against a cream wall and on purple carpet. Photographs and biographies hang in the background.

The artists gathered to celebrate their work at an opening reception in February.

Photo courtesy of C. Stephen Hurst via Sawtooth School for Visual Art

Winston-Salem is full of history and living storytellers. You can see their lives and experiences on display at the Generations Center (114 W. 30th St.).

Finding the focus point

“A Photographic Journey of Winston-Salem as Told Through the Eyes of Her Elders” started as photography class for older adults. C. Stephen Hurst, the director of photography at Sawtooth School for Visual Art, met with 10 students weekly for a month. They were encouraged to use point-and-shoot cameras to capture images that celebrated their contributions and unique viewpoints.

Behind the lens

What ended up in the exhibit is only a fraction of what the students captured. The exhibit also highlights who was behind the camera. Here are a few of their stories:

Millie Russell wanted to be a photographer growing up but work got in the way. It took decades for her to rediscover the passion.

“When I turned 85, I got interested in photography again,” Russell said. “I especially love taking photos of plants and flowers.”

Lois Smith says the photography class helped her explore her love of people and animals. She says she has captured moments with loved ones for years.

“I have always taken photos and had them printed out for memories,” Smith said. “Photography and family are the perfect recipe.”

Person with red hat and glasses frames holds a yellow camera. A black camera is around their neck and their black sweater has writing that says "Queen" on it.

Joanne Agnew is legally blind but doesn’t let that stop her from taking great photographs.

Photo courtesy of C. Stephen Hurst via Sawtooth School for Visual Art

Kenny Springs started photography with encouragement from his wife. He says it’s a way to document and share what’s happening.

“I have seen a lot of change. There is a lot of history that we don’t see. Some of it is right before our eyes, but some of it gone. And if we don’t take photographs, others will never see it,” Springs said.

Gone in a flash

Don’t miss the exhibition on display outside the Gallery Theater through Tuesday, April 30. If you’re interested in exploring your creative side, sign up for a class at Sawtooth.

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