Photography and its diverse challenges can facilitate life changing experiences. Lorraine Cosgrove’s relationship with the Simsbury Camera Club largely exemplifies how this leisure pursuit foreshadowed her productive life in capturing original photographic images.
Lorraine, a native of Waterbury, received her bachelor’s degree from the College of Our Lady of the Elms (commonly known as Elms College) located in Chicopee, Massachusetts. She pursued a double major in history and sociology that prepared her for an initial job as a substitute teacher in Waterbury and later as a 3rd grade teacher in Bristol that lasted for 6 ½ years. Lorraine changed careers after attending the Computer Processing Institute, where she learned new marketable skills. This led to thirty years of employment at The Hartford, beginning as a computer programmer and advancing through various levels, ultimately receiving her certification as an information management project manager through the Project Management Institute which allowed her the opportunity to take on new roles and responsibilities leading multi-million-dollar projects. After retiring from The Hartford in 2012, Lorraine put her IT skills to good use, doing some mind mapping of her own to assess her current interests and talents and merge them with her dreams, new interests and personal goals to continue to live a happy, meaningful and productive life during her retirement years.
Around the time she moved to Simsbury, Lorraine first took photographs using a simple Nikon point and shoot fixed lens camera to record her much loved vacation travels and family gatherings. One of her dreams was to travel more during retirement. Lorraine’s first big trip was a pilgrimage to Italy. However, after her return she was disappointed with her photographs and knew that she had to find a way to learn how to take better pictures as well as express her artistic perceptions. She heard about the Simsbury Camera Club [SCC] and attended a few meetings where the lectures about color, composition and craft captured her imagination. She joined the group as an opportunity to absorb the new information the club provided to its members. Her initial objective was to compete as often as she had appropriate images and hopefully reach the “salon level” —a feat that she recently accomplished.
Lorraine uses a Nikon 750 camera body, a collection of lenses, miscellaneous accessories, and assorted trappings that likely will enable her to photograph any subject matter she may encounter. She has taken photography courses from many well-known photographers mostly in the Northeast, to develop and hone a discerning eye. In doing so, she has become a sort of “workshop groupie.” Two of her favorite pastimes are hiking in the New England countryside and photographing leviathans off Cape Cod while whale watching. Lorraine’s many travel destinations include Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland, but her favorite experience was Cuba where she viewed life through her camera lens in Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad de Cuba. The friendly, colorful people and beguiling land and seascapes were a photographer’s dream. Her images produced there won frequent recognition in competitive shows in Connecticut and at other East Coast sites. Her works featuring a variety of settings have also have scored extremely well in art show competitions and have been accepted into numerous international photography exhibitions sanctioned by the Photographic Society of America (PSA).
Among the dividends that Lorraine highly values are the close friendships that she has made within the SCC and through attending many photography courses. She uses her images as gifts as a way of bringing pleasure to people in social work endeavors and church activities. During the past four years, Lorraine has spent a 3-day weekend taking photos for Camp Erin CT, a camp for grieving children run by the Cove Center for Grieving children. In addition to using Lorraine’s camp photos for marketing, her photos are shared during presentations to the parents of the campers before camp, with the volunteer staff during training, and with parents after camp so they get to see all that their children experienced during their weekend. Last year Lorraine also volunteered to take photos during the new equine therapy program that the Cove Center offers to the children who are part of the Cove family. And yet another one of Lorraine’s favorite ways to share her photography skills is taking photographs each year on Adoption Day for the Connecticut Department of Family Services. She is moved by the privilege of capturing these very special memories for the families during their adoption proceedings in the courtroom. Lorraine is extremely grateful when thinking back — all of these experiences started with that first visit to a SCC meeting!
Serving as a SCC board member, Lorraine initiated and led the redesign of the club’s webpage, worked with a sporting store to get a version of the club’s logo printed on shirts, jackets and caps, and created and maintains the club’s Facebook page. The accomplishments of the members of the club in both interclub and intraclub makes for such a great story and with the popularity of social media there is no better way to share all the member images and accolades.
Lorraine, a valued Simsbury Camera Club member who sometimes acts as a judge, is struck by the improvement in the quality of the images entered in the club’s competitions. She does, however, regret that the SCC has discontinued the print competition. Although it is an added expense and can be time consuming, if members resumed making prints, she would love for more members to experience the satisfaction of seeing their work in print, as the end product of the whole photography process. Lorraine herself has had several exhibits in the lower level hall at the Simsbury library, has exhibited some of her work in a two person exhibit at an investment firm in the valley. She has had her work juried into art shows at the New Britain Art Museum, the West Hartford Art League, the Munson Arts Council art exhibition and the Mystic Museum of Art. Lorraine was also very pleased to learn that two of her images were chosen to be included in the 2021 calendars for Sturbridge Village and for the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservatory. Also, when approached by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) requesting that they use two of her images on the front and back covers of their motor vehicle handbook, Lorraine said ‘yes.’ After sharing that news, Lorraine restated what a great feeling it is to be able to capture what you experienced and saw, then have it printed, framed and hung in a venue for people to enjoy – whether it’s a formal setting, a printed calendar or your own home. Visitors to Lorraine’s home will find many whale images, her very own whale calendar as well as a mug, and coasters. Her other hung artworks include colorful dahlia images printed on mugs and notecards plus her favorite images of people from Cuba that hang in her living room. She feels that once someone has the print ‘bug’, the sky is the limit!