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ABOUT TOWN: Instant Photography? Stoughton Man Displays Works 40 Years in the Making

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e

THE LONGEST REALITY DOCUMENTARY EVER! Tom Fitzgerald is a Stoughton documentary photographer who has been pursuing his craft for over 40 years.  He will have his works on display in the upstairs gallery at the Stoughton Public Library starting December 1.

This exhibit, which will be displayed throughout the month of December, will feature a group of Irish musicians Fitzgerald met in the early 1970s. 

He tells About Town, a documentary photographer takes pictures of what he observes and then attempts to tell a story with these images. He hopes the images will introduce the viewer into a world that ordinarily would not be known, and that it will enlighten them. 

He adds, "Some of my documentaries are fun to view, others not so easy."

Fitzgerald, who was a member of the town's Cable Advisory Committee, has exhibited his work at the library twice before. 

The first was about 1992 and he put up 30 black and white photographs of childhood Leukemia, showing the treatment of a young girl diagnosed with A.L.L. Leukemia and the struggles she went through for three years. 

The other display at the library was a slide show and lecture of a six month documentary he completed while traveling with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus while living on the circus train and going from city to city. 

Both of those exhibits were the result of work done in a relatively short period of time. But, most of the documentaries he has been working on are compiled over 30 or 40 years, and this latest exhibit featuring the Irish musicians is one of them.

This exhibit is a just a little taste of a documentary he has been working on since 1972, when he was first exposed to Irish traditional music. 

He says, "This occurred one very early morning in a campground in Aarhus, Denmark as I was on my way to the lavatory to brush my teeth.  A group of three Irishmen that I passed called out to me to join them in a drink which I laughed and declined, telling them I must brush my teeth. Upon my return, they beckoned me again, now demanding I join them around their morning fire. I did and that is how I met the Johnston's, a wildly popular Irish group of musicians that I had never heard of and I have never been the same since."

The group was on tour through Scandinavia. It consisted of Mick Moloney, Paul Brady and Adrienne Johnston. Fitzgerald continues, " We first arrived at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and were greeted by an enormous crowd and they were being treated as if they were the bloody Beatles. It was great fun and we traveled from Denmark, into Sweden and then Norway and along the way great friendships were formed. 

"Later, the Johnstons went separate ways and I returned to the States," Fitzgerald said. "Poor Adrienne died tragically and I never saw her again but it wasn't so long before Maloney & Brady came banging on my door in my triple decker in Savin Hill and we would be hearing some mighty music in the Boston area and dragging great musicians back to my apartment for sessions long into the nights."

So this exhibit is just a tiny sampler of an exhibit of friends and new musicians playing in the traditional manner that Fitzgerald has encountered along the way.

He wishes that he could have their music playing alongside the photography. But, alas, it's "ssshhhush" at the library! 

Don't miss it!  I have seen his photos (and his cool greyhound, Harper.)

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Dan Skiba, former president of Stoughton Youth Baseball, and a member of Mike Sammarco's Sons of Italy cooking crew; to Kellie Lamb, Pct Chair at Town Meeting and former Secretary in Veterans Affairs office; and to Amy Griffing, Stoughton resident, and Rehab Program Coordinator at Aegis Therapies.

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