'Taste of Baltimore' photos by Timonium man on display at Towson Library

Twenty-five-year-old Greg Nickey has shot photos all over the continent, but his favorite subject to photograph is the city of Baltimore.

Nickey said he idolizes 20th-century Baltimore Sun photographer A. Aubrey Bodine, whose images of the city graced that newspaper's pages for half a century.

Now images from Nickey's own colorful, detailed Baltimore photo collection entitled, "A Taste of Baltimore," are on display through the end of March at the Towson branch of the Baltimore County Public Library system.

"When I'm downtown, I just stand in the World Trade Center, right inside the window," Nickey, of Timonium, said, adding that the vantage point is his favorite and allows for him to take his best pictures.

Nickey said he began taking pictures at age 16, when he asked his gym teacher at The Harbour School, a school in Owings Mills for students with learning disabilities, if he could shoot the school's soccer teams. Nickey has mild cerebral palsy.

His mother, Fran Nickey, gave him a Polaroid camera to use for the game. Shortly thereafter, a teacher at the school invited Nickey to go on a class trip to the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

"My mom said, 'Greg, take as many photos as you want,' " he recalled. "I took photos of bonzai trees, the trees, the flowers and also the lake."

The teacher suggested that he enter the photos in the Maryland State Fair, where Nickey, then 17, won a first and third place for his work.

In Nickey's mother's mind, the honors were an affirmation that her son had a gift.

"That was the first time that someone other than, say, teachers, said these are really good," Fran Nickey said. "I thought he was lucky. He kept doing this over and over again until it became obvious that he must have a knack for this because they always turn out so well."

Using a point-and-shoot digital camera, Nickey and family members have traveled near and far so Nickey could shoot photos. In addition to Baltimore, Nickey enjoys shooting photos butterflies, so the family traveled north to the Butterfly Conservatory just north of the Canadian border near Niagara Falls.

Nickey, using today's technology, shot many of his during just a few photo shoots, including a large session during the Sailabration and another on 12-12-12.

"You can see there's a huge difference because now you don't have to use film," Fran Nickey said.

Nickey's photos are on display as part of the CCBC Foundation Photo Connection, which highlights the work of CCBC student photographers for the campus and community to enjoy. Nickey attend's CCBC's Single Step program for students with learning differences and disabilities.

Fran Nickey is the coordinator of the Photo Connection, and has secured venues to show Nickey's photos all over the county. Last summer his photos of the Maryland State Fair were displayed at the Lorien Mays Chapel nursing home.

Fran Nickey and Lisa Hughes, the Towson branch manager, arranged the collection show at the Towson Library, on display through the end of March.

Hughes, who came to the Towson branch last summer from the North Point branch, previously arranged several exhibits of Nickey's work, including photos from Defender's Day, a War of 1812 reenactment at North Point Park, at that library.

Hughes said the collection on display on the library's mezzanine level, serves as a focal point for patrons.

"People love to come see historic photos, and of course, the harbor is beautiful." Hughes said. "It's fun for people to have some participation with what's going on with the library, and it gives us a way to feature some books in our collection."

To view photographs from the CCBC Foundation Photo Connection, visit <http://flickr.com/photos/ccbcphotoconnection>.

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