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New Kensington Camera Club’s annual show spotlights garden beauties

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Angela Shearon took this photo in the gardens at Hartwood Acres. It was featured in a previous New Kensington Camera Club flower show.
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A photo by T.T. Kuchta featured in a previous New Kensington Camera Club flower show
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Tommy West won first place at last year's New Kensington Camera Club flower show with this photo.
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A photo by Cindy Morgano featured in a previous New Kensington Camera Club show
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'High Speed Flash' by Gary Sprague.
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Photo by Chris Fiorina featured in a previous New Kensington Camera Club show.
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When Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Eddie Adams died of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2004, Don Henderson and his son, Shane, wanted to find a way to honor the New Kensington native. They came up with the idea for a historic marker to be placed in Adams’ hometown, and the New Kensington Camera Club was born.

“We decided to do a flower show and get the public to submit flower photos, and we got an overwhelming response,” says club president Don Henderson, also of New Kensington. “Since then, we’ve been going like gangbusters.”

The club has raised enough money for the Eddie Adams marker, and it was recently approved by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Plans are in the works to unveil it June 12, 2016, Adams’ birthday.

This year’s flower photo show will be from April 17 to 19 at the Central Presbyterian Church in Tarentum. The show is open to all photographers — any age group or level of experience. Photos must be the original work of the entrant and not have excessive digital enhancing. Photos can be dropped off from 6 to 9 p.m. April 15.

Up to four images may be entered by a single person or group. They also may be offered for sale by the artist. Complete rules of the show can be found at nkcameraclub.org.

Prizes will be awarded for the people’s choice, president’s choice and pastor’s choice photos.

“The winners are always surprised,” says Bob Sudy, head of the club’s education committee and organizer of the flower show. There also will be a garden gift basket raffle and a stuffed-pepper soup sale at the show.

The New Kensington Camera Club began with the original flower-show fundraiser idea and few members. The club has grown, as has membership, to about 50. The club has its social meetings the first Saturday or Sunday of the month at the New Kensington Chamber of Commerce Building along Fourth Avenue.

“It really just started out with my son and I, and then we met Gary Sprague, then Bill Hall and Jim Thomas, and everything just started rolling,” Henderson says. “We have some great people in the group. Everybody seems to feed off of everybody else.

“We all have different things we’re interested in — some are more technical, some are more into the composition and the creative end of it. It’s just a nice mix.”

The club’s meetings are social events, with guest speakers, small workshops and photography-technique demonstrations. One of the first guest speakers was John Filo, who took the iconic Kent State massacre photos.

Now that the club has reached its goal of memorializing Adams with a marker, it is setting it sights on fundraising for ALS.

“I think organizations need to pay it forward, have a cause,” Henderson says. “This will be a good cause.”

Another event the club organizes each year is Eddie Adams Day, which will be June 13 this year at the Allegheny-Kiski Valley Heritage Museum in Tarentum. There will be an exhibit of Adams’ photos, a video of Adams’ story and guest speaker Justin Merriman, a photojournalist with the Tribune-Review. More information about this event is at eddieadamsday.com.

“A lot of people, when they think Eddie Adams, they immediately think of the Saigon execution photo,” Henderson says. “It’s the one he won the Pulitzer for, and it’s probably one of the most powerful images ever taken. It’s hard to look beyond that and see the rest of what he did. He did over 350 Parade magazine covers that people saw every Sunday. He worked for Time magazine; he covered 13 wars. The guy was prolific.”

Adams paid it forward, too. He started a workshop for early career photographers, called Barnstorm. The intense four-day workshop in Jeffersonville, N.Y., is still run by his widow, Alyssa, a photo editor for TV Guide, and top photography professionals. The workshop is tuition-free to 100 carefully selected students each year.

“It gives them an incredible opportunity to learn from the best in the business,” Henderson says. More information is available at eddieadamsworkshop.com.

In the spirit of paying it forward, Henderson says he hopes the New Kensington Camera Club will eventually be able to offer a workshop for local working professionals, similar to Adams’ Barnstorm workshops.

“New Kensington is not exactly the garden spot of America,” he says. “We have a lot of urban decay, drugs, crime. We’re trying to be a bright spot here, and we’ve been fairly successful with what we’ve been doing so far. I hope we can continue to make it better.”

Pamela Murphy is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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