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Longtime hobby resurfaces in public arena

Hingham shutterbug exhibited in the Hall at Patriot Place

Created date

September 20th, 2011

The wall behind Jim McGoldrick s desk in his Linden Ponds home reveals a patchwork of framed photos celebrating his travels, with landscapes captured from Hawaii to Jamaica. Atop his desk, organized binders with photos of each of his four children are a work in progress. This workspace is evidence of a longtime penchant for photography. Like other amateur photographers, Jim s hobby has been for him, family, and friends to see. But that changed last year, when photographs he had taken nearly four decades prior made their way into the public eye.

Capturing moments

Jim and his family were involved in St. Thomas Aquinas parish, in Jamaica Plain, Mass., and its popular marching band program, in which his four children had participated. Graduates of the program formed a jazz band that, in the 1970s, played at New England Patriots football games, entertaining fans and providing musical accompaniment for the Patriots cheerleaders. As a volunteer chaperone, Jim began accompanying the band on bus rides to the games. At the time, the Patriots cheerleaders rode the same bus, and Jim became friendly with them as well. Instinctually, he brought his camera along on the journeys, snapping photos of both groups during the warm-ups and games. Jim later edited the best of those slides and printed 25 of his favorites, which he put into a binder. The photos feature candid, smiling shots of the cheerleaders, clad in their red and blue uniforms. All of these pictures in one form or another remained in my files for 37 years, unseen by anyone but me and an occasional friend or family member, Jim says. That changed in the summer of 2010, when Jim read that Cheers through the Years, an exhibit dedicated to the Patriots cheerleaders, had opened in the Hall at Patriot Place. Jim contacted the curator to ask if he would be interested in photos of the 1973 squad. The curator was interested, so the two arranged a meeting. On a whim, Jim brought the entire binder of photos and was shocked when, after a look through, the curator asked for all of them. Jim learned that the curator planned to create an official archive for the cheerleaders. The photos would fill a gap, as the curator had no photos or information about the cheerleaders during the years Jim had photographed them. It was obvious that my pictures had an importance to this official archive that I could never have imagined, Jim says. It was just a set of circumstances that were so unusual, he adds. The fact that the material that I had fit so perfectly into their needs, I was perfectly happy to give them the material. Though Jim believes the official archive is still in the works, a few days after his meeting with the curator, one of the exhibit s poster-sized illustrations broke, and the curator chose to replace it with a reprint of one of Jim s photos. The photo appeared for the three-month exhibition, attributed to Jim.

Family projects

Today, Jim dedicates much of his time to editing family photos, typically starring his six grandchildren. He thoughtfully edits the images on his computer in the Linden Ponds apartment home he shares with his wife, Margaret. His recent photographic expeditions include a trip to the Grand Canyon and environs this past summer. The hazy weather posed a challenge, but Jim was still able to capture images of the park s beauty. Now that football season is underway, Jim says he occasionally tunes in to watch, though he isn t a diehard fan. I enjoy the Patriots because they re good players, he says.