May 7, 2014

Capturing faces, hearts

KEENE VALLEY — As Keene Central High School senior Prime Davis presented the residents their portraits, eyes lit and exclamations of joy filled the Commons Room at Keene Valley Neighborhood House.

“I love it,” Mary Rock said. “We need more and more of this.”

“I was a bit nervous at first,” Davis said of his senior service project for the school. “I thought they might think I was silly, or start questioning me. When I got in here, there was such enthusiasm, and they were so friendly and welcoming.”

Though Davis initially had eight residents registered, upon arriving to take the portraits, he discovered 14 wishing to participate.

“They (the residents) really responded to him,” Neighborhood House activities and events coordinator Cynthia Allen said. “They love it when younger people come here.”

“It’s a great way to outreach to us,” Dorothy Shemer, 85, said as she received her portrait. “I bet if he did it again, next time he would have more people. I might have him come back when I am wearing something else and have him take another picture.”

Davis, who caught the photography bug in eighth grade, decided to develop his project after seeing a video of painters at a seniors center.

“It made me want to do something of that significance,” said Davis, who plans on majoring in film and communication in college.

“Each year my senior class students do a senior service project,” said Laura Eldred, Keene Central’s family and consumer sciences teacher, and senior project advisor. “This year, one stood out for many reasons. I was proud to see a student bring joy to many other people, and for him to recognize that when you do things for others how rewarding it can be.”

Davis took approximately five photos of each subject, including window light and flash as well as close-ups and torso shots.

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