Low Down Articles
This article first appeared in the "Valley Lives" column in the May 5, 2021 issue of the The Low Down to Hull and Back News. Reprinted with permission. See complete list of Valley Lives articles or search Low Down Articles.
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A life in photos
By Hunter Cresswell
Adrienne Herron was a lot of things to a lot of people.
That's how her friend and fellow-Gatineau Valley Historical Society member Louise Schwartz remembers her.
"I was surprised at the breadth of her network in the community," Schwartz said.
Herron was an honorary lifetime member of the GVHS, longtime president of Gatineau Valley Gardeners, and active in the arts community as a photographer, whose works are currently displayed in Canadian embassies across the world.
"She had an insatiable curiosity and was always game for adventure," Schwartz said.
Herron died in her sleep on April 14; she was 82 years old. She was preceded in death by her husband Richard Herron, who died in July 2020. The couple lived on Chemin Dunn in Chelsea for 30 years before moving to a seniors residence in Aylmer two years ago.
A GVHS Facebook post about Herron's death prompted an outpouring of grief from people in all corners of the Gatineau Hills and beyond.
In 2001, as part of her bachelor of fine arts degree, Herron started the historical society's digital photo archive, which catapulted it into the digital age and is currently curated by Linda Bardell. Quite a few of the over-11,000 photos in the archive are Herron's, according to Schwartz.
"We went on photo shoots all over the valley," she said, remembering joining Herron on a photo shoot at a cow farm with veterinarian Mark Froimovitch back when he used to do house calls.
"My favourite memory of Adrienne was one morning meeting her in Gatineau Park near Notch Road," Carol Polonsky Froimovitch wrote about Herron on Facebook. "I was just starting my walk and she was returning from hers. She had a small [knapsack] on her back, various camera bags. She told me she'd been wandering the trails since sunrise to capture magical images of the early morning forest.... the light in the trees, a big stag, wild turkeys.... She would sit alone silently, patiently, and wildlife seemed to show up."
Herron loved wildlife and landscape photography, Schwartz said. She would edit the animal subjects into the scenes to create her art. She also loved taking photos of people and buildings to add to the archive, but would always lend her keen eye for a frame to make building shots pop.
"Two weeks ago we were up at the Cascades railway station," Schwartz said.
That turned out to be the pair's last photo adventure, taking photos of the Cascades railway station and the barn on the former Cross farm in Farm Point.
"It's about preserving the local history. In Chelsea, we feel a sense of loss," Schwartz said.
And Herron was there to photograph and archive those changes.