On January 16, 2018 Jan van Steenwijk presented his first copy of “Ordinary People – Extraordinary Stories,” a catalog of portraits and hand-written life stories of Bedford residents, to Richard Callaghan, Director, Bedford Free Public Library and Don Corey, President, Bedford Historical Society.
Van Steenwijk has lived in Bedford for 30 years where he observed and learned that much of what makes a small town like Bedford thrive are its ordinary citizens. An endless number of people continually volunteer their time and energy to keep aspects of the community vibrant.
At one-point, van Steenwijk recognized that these individuals rarely received credit for all the hours they dedicated to keep projects and organizations functioning smoothly. Wanting to spotlight these everyday heroes, he decided to photograph some of them and asked them to write a little bit about themselves. Realizing that writing, especially about one’s self, is difficult, he asked everyone to hand-write whatever they would like others to know about them on one sheet of paper.
To support their narratives, van Steenwijk chose to photograph each person in the environment that helped describe their voluntary work. The final result was a series of environmental portraits, accompanied by intimate, hand-written texts that together presented a glimpse into the life of a few Bedfordians. “This was my way of giving them the medals they deserved,” van Steenwijk said. Continue reading “Bedford Resident Presents Book to Bedford Library and Bedford Historical Society”