IMAGES OF LIFE, CHANGE & BEAUTY
Photographs, Poetry & Art
Selections from the works of Fran Dalton, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Compiled by Frank P. Stiriti & Colleen H. Stiriti
Images of Life, Change & Beauty as seen through the lens of Fran Dalton offers a heartwarming array of photographs that testify to the creative breadth of Fran’s portfolio. For some readers, this will be a journey into a familiar past, for others a discovery of a simpler time. For all, it is an invitation to reflect on the importance of having a sense of connection to place, to neighbors and strangers alike, to nature, and to one’s true self.
Fran also documents the transition of Newburyport, Massachusetts, a small New England city, over a period of three decades. Fran’s photographs, poetry, and artwork capture a city in decline in the 1960s, in transition in the 1970s, and having been reborn by the 1980s.
During this time, Fran Dalton, too, was in transition “having been born as though a male but who proved ultimately to be female.” Fran, at the age of fifty-eight in the mid-1980s, lived her truth in the city she loved and with the people she cared about. Her transition story, in her own words, is an opportunity for the reader to gain an appreciation for an extraordinary human being.
Fran Dalton was a self-taught film photographer. Her equipment included: Mamiya 645 camera bodies, a PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 camera, a No. 2c Pocket Kodak Folding Bellows camera, and lenses ranging from 45mm to 500mm. Fran had an extensive and varied portfolio. It included people at work, children at play, still lifes, weather, harbors, landscapes, animals, flowers, macro images, portraits, aerial photography, and more.
The photographs appearing in this book were taken in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and the surrounding area. Any taken elsewhere, if the location is known, are noted.
“If you were in the Newburyport area in the 1970s and 80s you know that Fran Dalton’s name was synonymous with photography. The first I heard of her was a note she left for me at the Daily News questioning a photo of mine. “What was your thought process taking this photo?” It made me think differently about my photography, it still does. Over the years we would talk from time to time exchanging ideas and sometimes criticism. Fran shot with a thoughtfulness not just photographing a scene or a moment, but adding a meaning that transcends that moment.”
—Jim Vaiknoras, Director of Photography, Newburyport Magazine, retired. Vphotographics.com
“Fran’s coming out letter is a thing of beauty and a true gift. I’ve read many in this vein and hers is easily the most eloquent and moving I’ve come across. She does a lovely job moving from the singular experience of her transition and identity into a thoughtful meditation on being in the world, and how the job of learning and acceptance rests with all of us as we live with each other.”
—Colleen Keefe, Co-Director, Mount Airy Contemporary, artist and writer
“Whether taking photographs, writing poetry, praising the glorious Merrimack Valley, or chatting up neighbors at a local diner, Fran approached everything and everyone with respect, love, and a twinkle in her eye. No matter what was happening in her own life, she was a loyal, trustworthy friend to many, always fully present and compassionate. Her legacy of compelling photographs serves to remind us all of our common humanity.”
—Debbie and Tom Szabo, grateful friends and admirers of Fran Dalton
About the Editors
Frank and Colleen Stiriti, upon their retirement in 2019, relocated to Newburyport, Massachusetts. For Colleen, it was a return to the city that she grew up in. Their goal was to have a book of Fran Dalton’s photographs published. Never having been involved in such an endeavor, they were fortunate to receive guidance from many in the community. This support, along with Frank’s background in the printing industry and Colleen’s attention to detail and organizational skills, enabled them to compile this sampling of Fran’s collection of works.