Passions can be fickle concepts. For the fortunate few, passions emerge during formative years and continue throughout life. Others spend their entire lives in search of them.

Nancy Banks didn’t discover her passion until she retired and moved to Morrisville four years ago.

“I started my career in local government as a town manager, then I went to the private sector and worked in all aspects of financial management,” she said. “When I retired from that, I started a nonprofit to do advocacy work around the environment and poverty, and later auditing and business management for a nonprofit.

“Our daughter attended Johnson State College, which is how we discovered the area. We had actually never been here before that and we fell in love with the area and decided to move here when we retired,” Banks said.

“When you retire, it’s really a time to think about what you want to do. I had never done art, really, and when you retire, it just seems like a time to explore and find interests.”

Struck by the beautiful scenery of her new home state, Banks began taking photographs. She took several art classes at River Arts and the Helen Day Art Center before concluding that it was photography that truly spoke to her.

That decision led her to Marcy Scudder’s photography workshop, where Banks recently wrapped up her third 10-week session.

“Marcy started this class in September by explaining that it wasn’t a technical class,” Banks said. “What she really wanted us to do was create a body of work. My social activism side kept surfacing, so I chose photojournalism for mine,” Banks said.

“She’s an amazing coach and facilitator. The group of people in the workshop were so supportive of each other and constructive. We’re all staying together and exploring what we want to do next.

“For me, having a sense of community around my work is really important. It’s fun to bring my work back to them and finding out all the things that they see in it that I didn’t.”

Aside from scenery and landscapes, Banks’ photography thus far has focused largely on Morrisville and the history of its buildings.

“I really like using photography to tell a story,” she said. “I like taking pictures of the buildings and let them tell the story rather than people. One of the things that really excites me about photography is that, when you get involved in a project, you really begin to look at the subject in a lot more depth. It’s the exploration of seeing things in different ways that’s really fun.”

Looking ahead, Banks aims to focus more on the overall themes of her photography, and hopes to exhibit her work during the winter. Already, her photo series on the people of Tanzania can be viewed at

“I am humbled to be thought of as an artist,” she said. “I still think of myself as just somebody who has a camera.”

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