Full Circle


Gillian Jones '91, known across the Berkshires as the eyes of the North Adams Transcript for the past two decades, will share a selection of her photographs in a solo exhibition in MCLA Gallery 51, beginning Thursday, May 31.

"Gillian Jones: Twenty Years of Photojournalism in the Berkshires," is a survey of her career, thus far. Selected from tens of thousands, the 50 to 60 photographs that will appear in the show are but a minute selection of those that went on to be published in the newspaper.

"I've had other themed shows, but nothing of this magnitude," Jones said. "Trying to look at 20 years of photos and coming up with a sampling has been a challenge."

While many of the events she has covered during her years at the Transcript - like the Fall Foliage Parade and countless graduations - have remained constant, Jones' view of the northern Berkshires, in particular, arguably is the most diverse and comprehensive of any of its residents.

"I hope that every one of my photos succeeds at telling a story. I hope that when people see them, it will be nostalgic for them. Photos seem to have that power to transport people back to that moment," Jones said.

"I've tried to pick photos that people have commented on in the past. Some have been maybe a little controversial, but mostly I just wanted this to be a show that people enjoyed. I want them to enjoy themselves, to look at an image and say, 'Neat.'"

As a graduate of the College and an instructor of photography at MCLA, Jones feels this exhibition in Gallery 51 will bring her full circle. The show is dedicated to the memory of professor Fred L. Johns, an avid photographer who taught biology and photography at the College for 30 years.

"He was really instrumental in helping me with my photography," Jones explained. "I bought my first camera from him, took a few classes from him, and did independent study courses with him. Even after I graduated from college, he gave me access to the dark room."

Now Jones, who majored in English/communications with a minor in philosophy, and who worked for the campus's student-run newspaper, is sharing her expertise with MCLA students of her own as she teaches classes and serves as an advisor to the Beacon.

"I do everything I can to help my students follow their dreams," she said. "Being a working journalist is great because I can give them the experience of working with someone who's in the field. As things evolve, I'm able to impart that knowledge to my students. Especially when I work with the kids at the Beacon, I can get them to think about the future."

The public is invited to attend a free opening reception on Thursday, May 31, 5-7 p.m. Through a special arrangement with the Transcript, all of the photographs in the show will be for sale.

"Gillian Jones: Twenty Years of Photojournalism in the Berkshires" runs through June 24.  MCLA Gallery 51 is open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call the Gallery at 413-664-8718, or go to gallery51