A new photography exhibit highlights the past and present of the Windsor Locks Canal in the display area of Bradley International Airport. Located in the departures area next to door 4, the exhibit features the work of five local photographers: Elizabeth Gragnolati, James F. Roche, Jr., Patrick Thomas, Ann Tuttle, and Jennifer Yakey-Ault.
Liz is a lifelong resident of Windsor Locks, CT, except for a few years when she lived in Maine getting her education at the University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine. Her hobbies and interests are vast, including biking, photography, fostering dogs, and gardening to name a few.
Liz had never visited the Windsor Locks Canal until the beginning of COVID. Working from home gave her the opportunity to take the time to visit it frequently to just relax and enjoy the nature that was just around the corner. While it was open thru November, she would walk just about every day, and was always in awe of its magic. It is a thriving ecosystem and had something different to offer every day. She would spend hours peacefully walking along, enjoying the smallest little wonders, then go home to revisit and reminisce through her photographs. Liz started sharing her photos on the Windsor Locks Moving Forward Facebook site so that others who are not able to take that journey down the path could enjoy what she had enjoyed first hand. Liz is happy to have discovered this special place right in her own community of Windsor Locks.
James F. Roche Jr. James F. Roche Jr. is a local photographer who moved to Windsor Locks in 1955, at age 10, and has spent most of his life in town. As a teenager James would go down to the canal with friends to enjoy swimming, plunging into the water from a “Tarzan Swing”. With the development of the Canal Park opportunities to enjoy nature, the canal and the river are better than ever, and a walk down the towpath is a trip down memory lane for him.
James appreciates “Life’s Simple Beauty,” and has tried to capture those types of images, starting as a youngster with drawing and painting, then later film photography and, more recently, digital photography. In retirement, James now has the opportunity to share his visual experiences with others though two websites, www.jfrochephotography.com, www.500px.com/jamesrochejr, and at various local exhibits.
Patrick was born in Miami and moved to Groton, CT when he was 8 years old. After graduating from Fitch Senior High School in 1974, he joined the U.S Army. Following his honorable discharge, he earned an A.S. degree in Business from Manchester Community College and worked at Hamilton Standard. He has two adult children and 4 grandchildren.
Patrick had his own portrait and event photography business, John-Patrick Photography, for several years. He had never visited the canal until after he moved to Montgomery Mill shortly before the COVID quarantine began. He began walking the canal for exercise and thought of it as an escape from being confined to his home. Once there, he saw the abundant wildlife and looked at it as an opportunity to expand his photography skills.
Ann grew up in Windsor Locks, CT, living there for the first 25 years of her life, and has always lived nearby. She thinks of the places she lives as home, and of Windsor Locks as her hometown.
The Windsor Locks Canal has been woven through Ann’s life. It connects the towns of Suffield, where her grandparents had a farm, with her hometown. She walked across the old pedestrian swing bridge with her then new husband to show him the canal trail, probably just months before it was deemed unsafe and left permanently swung open. She walks the trail now for the peacefulness and diversity of wildlife. It reminds her of her days on the drive to the farm, wondering if there will be new kittens or if the horses will be down in the back field instead of the barn, wondering what she will see. The drive to the canal trail has her wondering if the eagles will be in the nest, or if she will finally see deer on Kings Island, or if there will be something new and totally unexpected, like the bobcat. Ann is drawn to photography because it is an easy way to create keepsakes of the special, people, places and events in her life, places like the canal bank.
Jennifer has lived in Connecticut for much of her life, settling in Windsor Locks over 20 years ago. After several years, she and her husband visited the canal for the first time. She first used the canal as a place to go running as the mileage markers and flat terrain were helpful for different types of training.
As her interest in photography grew, she began taking walks at the canal to capture the beautiful landscapes and sunrises over the river. She started photographing the wildlife at the canal in 2019. One of her photography goals for 2020 was to improve her wildlife photography and the canal was the perfect place to do that as well as being a wonderful place to go to get out of the house and be active during quarantine. To her, it's a great place for photography due to the beauty of the canal and the river, the historic elements, the diversity of wildlife species, and the friendly group of photographers that gather there.