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Burley portrait photographer celebrates women over age 50
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DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS 

Portraitist Lynn Crane talks about 'The 50 Over 50 Project' at her studio in Burley on Friday. The dress in the foreground is one of many that her clients have the opportunity to try on for a photo.

BURLEY — A Mini-Cassia portrait photographer participating in the 2021 50 Women Over 50 project will tell women’s stories through images and words — and reveal the results to the public during a November gala.

Photographer Lynn Crane, 53, got the photography “bug” at 12 years old. Her Lynn Crane Portrait studio recently relocated to 113 E. Main St. in Burley.

Inspired by the teachings of renowned portrait photographer Sue Bryce, Crane learned how to pose her clients and capture expression and found she had a knack for making women feel comfortable in front of the camera.

“Everyone has a camera, but not everyone has the training,” Crane said.

Mary Arritola, 69, of Meridian, found Crane’s studio and the project and thought it was a fun idea — just not something she’d ever do.

“But then I thought, if I would do this for a family photo or for a couples’ photo, why not for myself,” she said.

Her mind changed and she decided it would be a gift to herself this year as she turns 70.

“I decided I wanted to celebrate who and what I am at this point in time and be a carrier of that to the other women in my family,” Arritola said.

Crane was drawn to the project because the only professional photograph she has of her grandmother was taken when her grandmother was a very young woman, long before Crane knew her.

“The photo is lovely, but it’s not of who I knew. I knew her with lines on her face,” Crane said. “It became personal to me. My grandmother hated to have her picture taken with an unholy passion.”

The only pictures the family now has of her grandmother in her later years are ones that were taken on the sly from odd angles, she said.

Women are bombarded by photographs of models and often feel inferior to the images presented with the professional lighting and retouching found in magazines.

In real life, women are often behind the camera taking photos of their families and are absent in those images. Sometimes the only photos women have of themselves are selfies they have taken in their pajamas, she said.

“Many women don’t think they’re worth it and that professional photos are just for other people,” Crane said. Especially women who are over age 50, she said.

For women as they age, changes in weight, skin and hair can make them feel self-conscious.

In spite of all the changes that come with aging and cultural perceptions of older women, many women over 50 are at their most accomplished and sometimes they feel unworthy.

DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS 

Lynn Crane shows one of the images she's produced for 'The 50 Over 50 Project' on Friday, April 2, 2021, at her studio in Burley.

“Women this age are underrepresented and yet when you talk with them they have done amazing things. But when the camera is turned on them they shrink away,” Crane said.

Sometimes women think having a full-blown photoshoot just for themselves would mean they are vain, she said.

“Women need to remember that a professional photograph of themselves is not just for them. It’s for their family, too,” Crane said.

For Arritola, the reactions of her children and grandchildren to the photos were priceless.

This was the first time Arritola had professional photos taken of herself with the exceptions of her wedding photos and an anniversary picture with her husband, who has since died.

Women, she said, have so many issues with their body, it’s easy to find excuses not to have photos taken. There are always 10 or 20 pounds to lose or maybe they feel like their time for something like that has simply passed.

“As we get older we have a tendency to just disappear,” she said. “So this was my conscious choice to step forward.”

The whole process, she said, was lovely.

“It was a very pampering experience and the photos were kind of a bonus,” she said. And the anticipation and preparation were almost as fun as the shoot.

“I’m very glad I did it,” she said.

Melinda Barboza, 51, of Rupert, who owns a counseling firm, agrees.

Barboza found the project after deciding she needed to rebrand her company and needed a professional photo of herself taken.

The only professional photos she had ever taken were head shorts for agencies she’d worked for.

DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS 

Lynn Crane talks about 'The 50 Over 50 Project' while showing some of her work for the project Friday at her studio in Burley.

“Women need to be able to celebrate themselves and Lynn certainly has a passion for it,” Barboza said.

“I was terrified,” Barboza said. But when other women’s photos turned out well, she ventured over to the studio, where she chose a lavender gown from Crane’s collection.

Social media with its perfecting filters, she said, teaches women that flaws are not acceptable.

“You have to embrace them,” she said.

Most of Barboza’s session was dedicated to her but for the last portion, her husband joined them for some couples photos, which they’d never done before.

“I think he was more excited than I was,” she said.

Crane has carved out a business niche catering to women and the photoshoot includes preplanning sessions, make-up and hair the day of the shoot, lunch and access to Crane’s wardrobe, which includes dozens of flowing gowns.

At times, she said, she has visited people’s homes to go over their clothing options with them.

During the shoot, there are usually five or six wardrobe changes.

“These women really want to be here so it is a joy to do it,’ Crane said.

When her clients come in for the session she guides them in posing so they will look their best.

Courtesy photo  

Lynn Crane of Lynn Crane Portrait photographs a client for the 50 Women Over 50 project.

Crane has already booked all of the 50 women for the project, which includes women from the Magic Valley, across Idaho and out-of-state.

It has been so popular, she may do another campaign in 2022.

The regular $500 cost of a sitting was reduced to $299 for the project and includes one free print and inclusion in a magazine that she will publish containing all 50 participants.

Crane has the women fill out a questionnaire and asks them additional questions, so she can write a couple of paragraphs that will be included with each woman’s photo at the gala and in the magazine. Each woman will get a copy of the magazine.

The 50 women will be invited to a private gala on Nov. 6, and then Crane will open it to the public.

She hopes the private gathering will help form a bond for the participating women.

She is completing the project in conjunction with her other studio work and the pace is challenging, she said.

But it’s also fun to see common threads appear when talking with the women.

The lives of women over 50 can rapidly change as they care for aging parents, children leaving home and sometimes coming back or when marriages held together by a common bond of children dissolves or their partner dies leaving them alone for the first time in decades.

These women can become fearless, she said, and as they step firmly into who they are they often stop worrying about what people will think of them.

“They become more grounded,” she said.

Those images of women’s lives over the age of 50 should be celebrated, Crane said, and preserved for their families for the next 200 years.

PHOTOS: The 50 Over 50 Project pays homage to women

Education
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Scholar of the Week
Scholar of the week: Richfield High School's Serena Kent

Nomination from Counselor Katrina McHan

It is my honor to nominate Serena Kent for the CapEd Credit Union Scholar of the Week. Serena is a hardworking and respectful student. As such, Serena has taken courses qualifying her for the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Diploma. She chose her coursework to assist her to become a dental hygienist.

Serena has learned the life skill of balancing academic achievement along with sports and school-related activities while maintaining a 3.8 GPA. Serena has participated in four years of high school basketball. This year she was the Richfield girls basketball team captain, in which she and her teammates competed at the IA Division 2 girls basketball championships. Furthermore, Serena was selected for Girl’s all-star basketball team, which she was ranked as first team all-conference. Along with basketball, Serena has participated in three years of track, volleyball and two years of cheerleading. Serena is an active member of the Richfield High School FFA and has participated all four years of high school.

Serena has held leadership positions throughout her high school career. As a freshman, she held the position of class president, and then during her sophomore year, she was the class vice president. During her junior year, she was the cheer captain. Currently, she is the student body vice president and the Richfield FFA chapter secretary. Not only is Serena involved in school-related activities, but also community service projects through the school and her church youth group. Serena also works part-time at the Little Wood Vision Clinic. In this position, she works directly with patients by conducting pretests and screening as part of the annual eye exam. We are happy to have Serena as a student at Richfield High School and wish her success in college and throughout her life.

More on Serena from Richfield Girls Basketball Coach and Co-Athletic Director Buck Hendren

I have known Serena and her family for roughly 15 years and have had the privilege of coaching Serena in basketball for the last four. Serena was a manager for a couple of years for me while she was in junior high, so she learned the expectations of my program. Once she got into high school, she was able to exceed those expectations and show her teammates what was expected. One thing I stress with my basketball teams is the importance of communication. Serena served as a team captain for the last three years and has been a valuable asset in helping me maintain open communication with my team. Her teammates know that if they have something they do not feel comfortable talking about with me, they could go to her and she could convey the message.

Serena’s senior year, I switched her position from point guard to shooting guard. Serena’s role on our team changed. She was asked to change her style of play, which resulted in her getting fewer scoring opportunities on offense. Most high school basketball players, if put in the same situation, would complain, or be upset because they were not getting to score as much. Serena just did what I asked of her, and what her team needed her to do, and it resulted in our first trip to state in the last five years. Was she happy with her new role? Probably not, but to be honest with you I do not know. She kept her head down, her mouth closed and set an outstanding example for her teammates to follow.

In closing, I would just like to add. I had 13 players on my basketball team. I could have chosen any of them to serve as a team captain. Serena’s work ethic and her ability to be a leader made it an easy choice for me.


Education
Buhl School District keeps mask requirement in place for remainder of year

BUHL — School district students and staff will be required to continue to wear masks through the end of the school year in Buhl to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

During its meeting on Tuesday the district’s Board of Trustees voted 3-2 to keep the district’s mask requirement in place until the last day of school on May 21. After that, masks will become optional at district functions like graduation or summer school.

Prior to the school board’s vote on Tuesday, the district sent a survey to parents, students and staff to gauge their thoughts on the mask requirement. Interim Superintendent Wil Overgaard presented the survey findings to the board during the meeting.

He said of the 109 staff members who responded, 51% said they either agreed or strongly agreed with continuing the district’s mask requirement. However, 53% of the 220 high students who responded, as well as 62% of the 355 parents who responded, disagreed or strongly disagreed with continuing this policy.

Trustees Danielle Richardson and Mike Hamilton voted against the motion to keep the district’s mask requirement in place. Richardson said with the current low level of COVID-19 cases in the Magic Valley, it is time for families to decide whether or not their students wear masks.

“I just think we have to move forward at some point,” Richardson said.

Meanwhile, the trustees who supported the motion raised questions about some of the potential effects of lifting the mandate.

Trustee Carla Critchfield said removing the requirement could cause some families to pull their students out of in-person classes, which would then create issues with additional kids switching to online learning.

And trustee J.D. Gould said he was concerned that lifting the mandate could lead to some students either getting COVID-19 or needing to be quarantined because of exposure, which could cause them to miss year-end activities like graduation.

“Prevention is the best medicine,” Gould said. “I don’t want the seniors to miss out.”

The board’s decision comes as other school districts around the Magic Valley are reconsidering their mask mandates as COVID-19 cases in the region dip to a level not seen since the pandemic began last spring.

In its most recent regional risk assessment released on March 25, the South Central Public Health District reported all eight of the counties within its jurisdiction as experiencing a minimal risk level for COVID-19 transmission. The district moved Blaine County to the moderate category on April 1 after cases increased there. The health district will release an updated regional assessment on Thursday.

Throughout most of March, the number of new COVID-19 cases identified per day in Twin Falls County was in the single digits, according to health district data. This is significantly less than the hundreds of new cases that were identified per day in the county during its peak late last year.

Due to the low case numbers, the Jerome School District’s board voted to end the district’s mask requirement on March 19.

However, like Buhl, the Twin Falls School District’s board voted to keep its mask requirement in place until the end of the school year during a meeting last week. Also like Buhl, that vote broke 3-2.


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