Entertainment » Highlights » Vol. 27

Norm Eggert, Photographer

By Richard Murphy

culture-norm-eggert-jamesweluandmatthiaswaschekattheworcesterartmuseum_mg_71772Driving up to Norm Eggert’s farm in Phillipston, you might assume that the beautiful New England countryside was his inspiration to delve into the world of photography. Yes, Normis a long-time chronicler of grand scenery, true, but his road to becoming a photographer started quite far from scenic back roads.

Norm got into photography several decades ago with little thought of making it a career, as he already had one as an underwriter at the [then]Paul Revere Insurance Company. In order to meet people at his place of work, he ~ with his first camera, a manual Konica Rangefinder ~ joined the newly formed photography club. Fellow members were helpful with tips and advice on equipment and technique. In a contest early on, one of his pictures placed third, not at all bad for a novice.  Norm did not think his photo was all that good, but he was pleased at the affirmation of his fellow club members.

One mentor, remembered fondly, taught Norm how to shoot weddings. After working only two under his mentor’s watchful eye, he was thrown into the deep end, shooting the third and subsequent weddings solo. At this point in our conversation, Norm’s quiet confidence begins to shine through as he talks me through the maturation of his photography career. culture-norm-eggert-mw159aboulevarddineronshrewsburystreetinworcesterma_mg_1894_hdr1

Norm lived in Worcester back then and remains fond of the city. Still, the desire for a farm burned strong in his and his wife Cheryl’s hearts, so they bought an old square cape and five acres ~ five acres to which another 15, plus sheep and Australian shepherds to herd them, would soon be added, and would soon become the subjects of many of his photographs.

While he enjoyed the work environment at Paul Revere, Norm continued to pursue photography; unlike some artists, there was never a big moment when he fell in love with his craft, it was always just fun.

culture-norm-eggert-mw168oldworcestercountycourthouse_mg_95361Norm blossomed into a full-fledged photographer during the film age, and now we are in the digital camera era; he has responded as most have, only occasionally using film these days.  We can all take better pictures than we could with our old Kodaks, but there is a flip side to that advancement: Norm shared how he had made an album from his grandmother’s ancient negatives dating from the first quarter of the 20th century.  Today, such treasure could be lost with the crash of a disk.  If there is an irreplaceable shot on your drive, Norm advised, make a print of it.

Appreciative of how much he benefitted from mentors early on, Norm has likewise been passing on his knowledge to a new generation of photographers for over 25 years.  He has taught at Assabet Valley and Mount Wachusett Community College, and has been an instructor at the Worcester Art Museum for years.

Right now at the Museum, he is instructing on outdoor and nature photography, focusing on how to improve composition.  For Norm, composition is key, as is evident in all his work: it is lush in color whether the scene is a quaint shop, seashore, or farmland.  Not bad for a man who started out working with numbers.

To view some of Norm’s work, please visit www.agpix.com/normaneggert.

Norm accepts assignments for specific projects and is available for creative family and individual portraits as well as private instruction and workshops. He can be reached at 978.249.8606 and norm@eggphoto.com.

Photos: Top, outgoing Director of Worcester Art Museum Jim Welu with incoming Director Matthias Wascheck at the Musuem; Middle, the Boulevard Diner; Bottom, the old Worcester County Courthouse

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