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Adventures in Photography: Thompson Street and the 4H Fair
by Greg Lessard

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Thompson Street in Middleboro has become a source for many of my photographic adventures. This stretch of rural road, also known as Route 105 in East Middleboro, is arguably one of the most beautiful landscapes in Southeastern Massachusetts. It has been designated as a “Heritage Landscape” by the State of Massachusetts for its rural beauty and historical significance.
During King Phillip’s War in the 1600’s, George Danson was shot and killed where Danson’s Brook crosses Thompson Street. During the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, Cephas Thompson a self taught painter, became one of our country’s most sought after portrait artists. He painted many dignitaries, including Chief Justice Marshall. His son Cephas Giovanni Thompson was also a well known painter and a close friend of the author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
In the past year, local citizens have formed The Committee for the Preservation of Thompson Street. This group hopes to preserve the rural character of Thompson Street for future generations. Shortly after joining this group, I was asked to photograph Thompson Street in an effort to document the beauty of this rural neighborhood. Soon, the idea of making a calendar of Thompson Street was born.


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Creating a calendar of Thompson Street has proven to be quite challenging. While Thompson Street is very beautiful, it is often difficult to capture the spirit of this land in a photograph. After a difficult beginning, I remembered that to capture the essence of a place, you must visit it repeatedly. Over the past year, I have driven along Thompson Street countless times. What has resulted is a portfolio of special images that I am truly proud of. Along the way, I have met many kind people and learned a tremendous amount about farm life in New England.
The calendar will be debuted at the 4H Fair from September 4-6. It may be purchased for $15. All proceeds will benefit the Committee for the Preservation of Thompson Street.
The Middleboro 4H Club is the heart beat of Thompson Street. The club holds its annual fair on Labor Day Weekend. For me, this marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. At the fair, warm summer days give way to crisp autumn evenings, while good cheer abounds from all. There is a vibrancy in the air that stirs the spirit of the youngest toddler to the eldest farmer.
Traditions abound at the 4H fair and so do the photographic opportunities. From kids eating fried dough to numerous farm animals, there are opportunities to capture wonderful images every where you look. The 4H Fair is truly old time, small town Americana at its best.


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This month’s tip:
Many people expect to go to the world’s iconic locations and make classic photographs. While this is certainly possible, it is very difficult to achieve. Most of the best photographs were created by artists who returned to their favorite locations time after time, patiently waiting for the perfect moment. Often, they are doing this in their backyard. Thompson Street is the beautiful landscape in my backyard. Where is yours?