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Ryan Athanas

By Julianne Mosher

For more than four decades, George Gough has been capturing what he sees in real life through the lens’ of his camera.

“I remember getting my first camera in Japan,” he said. “Just the color of the slides really hit me.”

Gough began taking photos recreationally in his early adulthood. He said he always had creative eye but picking up his first camera — a Mamiya/ Sekor — truly sparked his interest.

Originally a native of Westchester, Gough moved to Huntington in the late 60s. He began a career as an air traffic controller for international flights at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, which allowed him to travel, bringing his camera along for the ride.

Now, the 77-year-old has been periodically showcasing his photography at local venues, including the Huntington Public Library and the Huntington Arts Council.

This month, 30 images Gough took throughout his career are on display at the Harborfields Public Library Gallery in Greenlawn. The show runs through Oct. 29.

“He captures things,” said Library Director Ryan Athanas. “He seems to be in the right place at the right time.”

The gallery at the Harborfields Library is unique, Athanas said. “We get a lot of foot traffic here. A lot of people come through and it makes us different. To us it’s always amazing to see the art in our community. It’s another service being a community center.”

But Gough said he simply just sees things that other people might not notice. “It’s like the lotto,” he said. “It’s the luck of the draw.”

The photographer will often across Long Island to find different shots. “I love Brooklyn street photography and meeting people,” he said, “I love the interactions of common folk in and around Manhattan.” Before the COVID-19 crisis, Gough would head up and down the East Coast, throughout the rest of the country and take trips worldwide.

The exhibit showcases photos he took with his old Mamiya Sekor years ago as well as more recent ones. Now he mostly uses his Fuji and Panasonic cameras, digital instead of film.   “I like to shoot the adventure where other people might not be able to go, places that they might not be able to see because of their busy schedules,” he said.

Gough said he was thrilled when the library contacted him and asked if he’d like to be showcased. “It was nice,” he said. “It’s pretty special because there are other artists out there that they can choose from and they asked me.”

One of the reasons he was chosen was for his skill in seeing things others might not notice. “I’ve always been a visual person,” he said. “My wife likes to joke that I can see a hawk in the sky, but I can’t find the butter in the refrigerator.”

Gough said that prints of his work will also be for sale at the site. “I want people to reminisce and look at different aspects of the world [and] to bring good memories.”

“The Photography of George Gough” will be on view in the gallery at Harborfields Public Library, 31 Broadway, Greenlawn through Oct. 29. For more information, call 631-757-4200.