“We Are Medway” Is Making History Personal Photo Blog Captures Medway’s People at a Moment in Time

J.D. O’Gara
Betty Ann Balboni, Medway resident for 45 years, was the first subject of photographer Tim Rice’s new blog, “We Are Medway,” which aims to be an ongoing, living yearbook of all who touch Medway.
Issue Date: 
August, 2018
Article Body: 

A woman with gray hair and kind eyes who has lived here 45 years; three generations of men from a family that serves; a long-distance runner and survivor, a couple married 60 years; a couple about to get married; town officials, police, firefighters, business owners, volunteers, the young, the old – all with one thing in common – the town of Medway as a place they live, or work, or somehow define themselves.
“We Are Medway” is an ongoing living yearbook of Medway, Massachusetts. It was started last month, on July 1, 2018, by Medway photographer Tim Rice, who will take the project where it wants to go.
“This has been in my head for just under 20 years,” says Medway native and well-known photographer Tim Rice, who began the “We Are Medway” photo blog at the beginning of the month, featuring his neighbor Betty Ann Balboni.
“She’s 89 years old, and used to run the auction in town,” says Rice, who knew her when he owned a photo lab in town. Even back then, he says, when he sold his store and was trying to decide what to do, he imagined a mobile photo lab. “I had this concept to just go out to people’s houses and take pictures of them, and then to go out to my van and print them out for them,” says Rice.
Although that idea didn’t come to fruition, says Rice, the notion of taking glimpses of Medway and its people never left his mind.
“I love the history of Medway,” says Rice, who as a teenager in town read historical books about the town written by Francis Donovan, available to read in the town’s library. “The Revolutionary War is what it is, but why Lincoln Street is named Lincoln Street is (personal),” says Rice, who envisioned “getting a book next to this book.”
“What it comes down to is I’m still that teenage kid,” says Rice, who has a private photography business and has recently come on board as the photographer for the Town of Medway’s website. His new blog, he says, documents “just who we are, a living yearbook of who we are right now. I see all these photos around town as being the history of Medway – me capturing what we look like now, so that 100 years from now we can look back on it. ‘We Are Medway’ is just an extension of what I’m already doing by taking pictures of the town—now I’m taking pictures of the town’s people.”
The project is open to everyone and anyone that is connected to Medway, as a resident, worker or volunteer. “I wouldn’t shy away from anybody,” says the photographer. “I’m honored that anyone wants to be part of it,” says Rice, who already has built a following for a daily project he began on October 1, 2009, his birthday, with his new Nikon D80, the Daily Pic. He has now amassed over 3200 daily photos, without missing a day, much to the delight of his audience on his website and Facebook.
“I just start things and they keep going,” says Rice. “It is what it is,” he explains, of letting each project come to life on its own natural accord. “We Are Medway” got “an overwhelming response in the first few days,” he says, and he knew, thanks to how many people got in touch with him in the first 48 hours, that “this is going to be such a great project. I don’t know where it’s going to go, but we can just see it. I’m looking forward to seeing where it’s going to go, and I’m just doing it.”
Participants are asked to come to Rice’s studio to sit for the photo, although the artist will make a few exceptions in certain situations. The photo shoot, he says, takes just a few minutes, and a brief conversation leads to the special shot.
“Honestly, what it comes down to, is I talk to them. I take one or two pictures and then get one that gets their personality.”
There is no cost or payment involved in the project. All is voluntary.
“Medway has always supported my stuff. The community has been nothing but supportive of what I do,” says Rice. “This is part of giving back.”
If you would like to follow the project or be part of it, visit http://timricephoto.com/wearemedway (you can also visit timricephoto.com and find “We Are Medway” in the menu to the left of the home page.