SHREWSBURY – Grafton’s Small Stones Festival of the Arts features a collection of local photography. In 2021, the festival included one image of something any Central Massachusetts resident would immediately recognize: the Old Stone Church in West Boylston.
In the image, the historic church — which sits on the edge of the Wachusett Reservoir — is captured after a fresh, powdery snowfall. The pine-tree branches are dusted with snow, the reservoir is icy and a picture-perfect Christmas wreath is hung on the church’s wall.
The iconic photo, called “Old Stone Church Christmas,” was captured by former longtime Shrewsbury resident David Long. Since Long’s 2021 submission, he’s had several other images featured at Small Stones, including four at this year’s festival, which was held from Jan. 27 to Feb. 4.
Long has been interested in photography since he can remember, and he purchased his first camera at 17. After taking photography courses throughout college, Long’s expertise came in handy in his Worcester-based job, where he helped the company photograph certain products.
Long arrived in Shrewsbury in 1995, living in town until he moved to Falmouth last May. The community was the ideal location for Long, who enjoyed going into Boston and loved the biking trails, farmstand options and landscape north of Interstate 290.
“Probably my favorite thing about Shrewsbury was just the sense of neighborhood and sense of community. It was a wonderful tight-knit town,” Long told the Community Advocate. “It was an ideal place to raise a family and spend a lot of my life.”
While Long certainly cataloged Central Massachusetts during his time in Shrewsbury, leading to images like “Old David Long | from page 1 Stone Church Christmas,” he also has traveled around the world, photographing some of nature’s most beautiful landscapes. Long has focused on the Northeast — including trips to Boston, Southern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont — but he has also ventured to the Western U.S., South America, Europe, Asia and other exotic destinations.
“Every landscape photographer would probably have Iceland in their top four or five. It’s really unparalleled in terms of scenic beauty. Every place is different. I’ve been to China and Vietnam. I did a lot more people photography in those locations, people within landscapes. Then, the West Coast of the U.S. with the national parks still are huge favorites,” he said.
Photography has proved to be the perfect pastime for Long, seamlessly blending with his other two main interests.
“When I retired, my three favorite things were I loved to travel, I loved to hike, and I loved to do photography. And they kind of all went hand in hand. I did a lot of traveling, both here in New England and around the U.S. and world. It was a great mix of being able to combine my love of travel and hiking while taking my camera with me,” Long said.
“You never meet a landscape photographer who is in a bad mood,” he said.
Long said that local art festivals — like Small Stones in Grafton — are “extremely important,” saying that “no matter if you’re an amateur, professional, however you describe yourself, you love to be able to show your work and have somebody critique it.”
More information on Long is available at https://davelongphoto.com/.
Long offers in-person, onsite workshops, photography e-book and enjoys spreading his love of photography to others.