It was an artistic impulse, not a call to 911, that brought images of firefighters, police and emergency medical responders to storefronts throughout Larchmont and Mamaroneck this week.
The 25 almost life-size portraits by photographer Robert P. Fine are part of a show honoring first responders that opens at the Mamaroneck Artists Guild on July 7.
This past May, Mr. Fine photographed members of the Mamaroneck Town ambulance district and the police and fire departments of Larchmont Village, Mamaroneck Village and Mamaroneck Town. The resulting images, said Mr. Fine, “convey a sense of the spirit and character of each individual and, taken together, create a portrait of this important community.”
Photography is a second career for Mr. Fine, who had been working on Wall Street, most recently at JP Morgan. After 20 years of ”doing complex financial modeling,” he said he now uses his computer skills to “craft digital files.” He shoots with a Hasselblad camera, “which produces incredibly detailed images that can only be fully appreciated when the prints are large,” said Mr. Fine.
And the first responder images are definitely large – each one is 60 inches high.
Next week the photographs will be reassembled at the gallery for the official beginning of the exhibit. The subjects and their families will be at the opening reception on Saturday, July 11 from 4 to 7 pm, where the community can pay tribute to them for their services.
“It’s hard to think of a more appropriate subject or a better way to celebrate them than through these majestic photos,” said Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe, who will be at the opening. Mayor Liz Feld is arranging for an old fire truck to be parked in front of the gallery so children can climb on the truck and have their photos taken by MAG photographers.
During the run of show and also in September and October, first responders will hold educational safety programs at the gallery.
On Thursday, July 16 at 7 pm, a member of the newly formed Community Emergency Response Team will describe how to prepare families and businesses in case of an emergency.
“Before Help Arrives” is the subject of a presentation on Thursday, July 23 at 7 pm by Mike Liverzani, administrator of the ambulance district and a TMFD fire captain. He will discuss, among other things, when to call EMS and what to do while waiting for aid.
On Saturday, July 18 at 4 pm, the presenter will be the only first responder who was hesitant about getting his photo taken: Neil the police dog. Neil and his handler, Village of Mamaroneck Police Officer Frank Maresca, will demonstrate how they manage emergency situations. When not at work, Neil is just a member of the Maresca family.
According to Mr. Fine, Neil “turned out to be very photogenic.”
On Saturday, July 25 at 3 pm, the EMS team will be back at MAG so children can become familiar with the kinds of equipment carried on the ambulances. The kids will be able to lie on a stretcher or see how a blood pressure machine works.
Programs on Internet safety and fire and crime prevention are planned for the early fall.
Even though the first responder tribute closes on Saturday evening, July 25, members of MAG hope that the spirit engendered by the images will continue. Fire Captain Liverzani told Mr. Fine, “This exhibit is a great way to recognize people who serve us every day but are often unseen.”
The Mamaroneck Artists Guild is located at 126 Larchmont Avenue. The hours are noon to 5 pm, Tuesday through Saturday, though the gallery may be open on Sundays during this show. For further information call 914-834-1117.