Sharon & Richard Hydren | Gentle People 2016

Gentle People

A Photographic Study
of Residents 
at Sea View Retreat
by Richard Hydren

July 7 through August 31


Sea View Retreat resident Edith Ryan, born 1912.

Local portrait photographer, Richard Hydren, is proud to announce a new one-man show will be on display in Rowley’s Public Library this summer. Two years ago he prepared a similar show featuring 15 residents at Sea View Retreat named Gentle People. That show displayed black and white prints of 15 subjects he photographed using window light and a plain white background. Included in the list of subjects were the late Jack Dimento, Barbra Collins and James Boynton.


Sea View Retreat resident Ray Spurling, born 1925.

During the winter months this year Richard felt it was time to return to Sea View Retreat to photograph another series of portraits, but not wishing to repeat the same technique. During the several months this project covered the project evolved into a new direction. 


“From the start, we changed the location for the sessions to a room that had not existed two years ago. In the first couple of sessions we tried natural light but it proved incorrect for the effect I was after. In the subsequent session I employed a variety of light sources and lighting patterns pushing my years of training in portraiture and my experience with product photography in new ways. In the end, I think I produced an interesting collection of images that capture a wide span of individual personalities yet feel very much like a cohesive series. Various lighting techniques, use of body language and expressions helped to create the diversity of personalities I was hoping to capture. Something that was not my part of my original intend, creative use of color, helped to develop the sense of cohesion in the series of portraits. About half way through the project I experimented with changing the texture and color of the backgrounds. And then some of the clothing to match and was delighted with the results.”


The subjects in this series of “Gentle People”  are Vernon Bell, Ray Spurling, Shirley Cheney, Helene Mincz, Hazel Bethel, Olive Fitzgerald, Dorothy Bonneau, Nathan Sherwood, Mary Whitney, Anne Flynn, Janet Wood, Mary Fronczek, Hildegard Hardy, Edith Ryan, Margaret Doak, Joseph Parks, David Martin, Joan Dykeman and Wilfred Chatigny. Their ages run from as young as 74 to as young as 104.


Richard extends a warm thank you to Steve Comely for encouraging his project and for his generous financial support. 


Included in the display is a special family portrait of Bettyann Finnegan, her husband, Kevin, and two boys, Matthew and Michael, posed with their 1965 black Mustang. Bettyann is the head nurse at Sea View Retreat, without her enthusiastic support and assistance the project would not have taken place. The family portrait is a gift to the Finnegan family in appreciation of their kind friendship.


Over the past few years, Richard Hydren has created a series of videos about the Great Marsh including one about the last remaining cottage in the Parker River Wildlife Refuge on Stage Island which is currently being taken down. Other videos in the series explore the issues presented by Phragmites. All his videos may be found at In addition to providing product photography services to local businesses such as Harvey Tool and MJ Industries (the later being the manufacturer of all the shelving in our library), Richard photographs homes for sale for a large number of real estate agents including our own Rowley Realty. Portraiture is clearly his primary interest and anyone interested in seeing more of his work may visit


Richard Hydren is a Certified Professional Photographer by Professional Photographers of America, a Member of Professional Photographers of New England and he is a Director on the Board of the New Hampshire Professional Photographers Association. Many of the images Richard has created in his series, Gentle People, have won awards in both state and regional competitions hosted by PPA affiliations and 4 of his Gentle People images are currently competing on the international level through PPA.

Richard Hydren may be reached at
508-954-1298 or at