As a noted family and portrait photographer, Pam Einarsen knew that a key to great shots is asking subjects to bring objects they like.
So when the Westport Library asked the longtime resident to photograph its “What do you geek?” project, she figured folks would bring their favorite things: dogs, games, sports equipment.
Pam had no idea of the incredible range of things Westporters love.
We “geek” human biology, burgundy, Harry Potter, Greek Islands, Toquet Hall, astronomy, break dancing, coffee, archery, knitting, astronomy, the Green Bay Packers, folk music, dragons, baking, and sleeping.
And that’s only the relatively normal stuff.
Pam’s long project is over. And now — 500+ photos later — the library is ready to celebrate.
On Tuesday, August 30 (5-6:30 p.m.), there’s a free, public “Geek Party.” Everyone who posed for Pam — and everyone who has seen her photos, or wants to — is invited to the Great Hall.
In addition to the geek photos, the event includes improv artists, interactive games and puzzles, and refreshments.
The geek project — designed to highlight the breadth of our community, and showcase the library’s many services — was an eye-opener for Pam too.
Her subjects ranged from babies to 90-somethings, and included every ethnicity. Pam was impressed with their diversity of interests — and their smiles as they posed with their favorite objects.
This word cloud shows some of the many different things that Westporters geek. The size of the word indicates its relative popularity.
The Wakeman Town Farm folks brought a chicken. Someone from Earthplace came with an owl. A girl arrived with a beautiful chameleon.
“People looked so happy and proud,” Pam reports. “They were surrounded with things that were meaningful — not just their ‘work.'”
New York Times crossword puzzle editor, for example, did not geek word games. His passion is ping pong.
Some youngsters geeked dinosaurs — no surprise. But so did a 70-year-old man.
Some of the portraits were poignant. A woman in her 80s brought teddy bears — including one her husband gave her more than 40 years ago.
Some were funny. Library communications director Marcia Logan geeks her dog — and her dog geeks tennis balls.
Pam enjoyed serving as project photographer. She was also the informal host. As subjects waiting for their shots, Pam noticed something interesting.
“Kids and people who could have been their grandparents started talking,” she says. “They showed each other what they’d brought, and shared stories. The interaction was fabulous.”
Westporters geek a lot of things. On August 30, we can all geek the same thing together: a party.
(For more information on the August 30 geek party, click here.)
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