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Leaving his journalism ‘privilege’ behind: Gazette photographer Kevin Gutting retires

  • Photographer Kevin Gutting edits his photos on his last day at the Gazette before retiring after 27 years at the newspaper. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Kevin Gutting takes a photo of the Field of Honor at the Elks Lodge of Northampton in 2020 for “Through our Lens,” a weekly feature that ran in the Gazette’s Living section during the first year of the pandemic. This photograph was taken by his wife, Evelyn Snyder. CONTRIBUTED/EVELYN SNYDER



Staff Writer
Monday, August 01, 2022

NORTHAMPTON — One day it might be visiting tobacco farms in Hatfield to learn more about the return of the crop, and another it might be chatting with people in Granby who are building from scratch a wooden boat known as the Arabella.

No matter where the work took him in the region, Kevin Gutting, who has spent the past 27 years as a photographer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, said he feels lucky to have had so many opportunities to inform readers through his photos and occasional essays.

“It’s a real privilege to get to do what we do and go where we go,” Gutting said on Thursday, his final day of work before retiring.

Gutting, 65, began his tenure at the Gazette on March 10, 1995, following an all-night drive from Ohio. Previously, he worked eight years at The Times-Reporter in New Philadelphia, Ohio, leaving that full-time position to follow his fiancee, and now wife, Evelyn Snyder, for a job that was only guaranteed to be 12 to 15 hours per week for the Amherst Bulletin.

Within three months, though, Gutting had a full-time job, joining a staff that included current photo editor Carol Lollis and two other photographers who have since retired, Gordon Daniels and Jerrey Roberts.

Coming to Northampton was not a decision he would regret, observing that the Pioneer Valley is a great place to track down feature photographs. “It’s just so interesting here,” Gutting said. “In general, a lot’s going on around here.”

“Kevin comes from a long line of Gazette photographers deeply committed to their work chronicling the life of Hampshire County,” said Pioneer Valley Executive Editor Dan Crowley. “He’s represented the paper well and his talent and experience with a camera will be missed in the newsroom and in the community.”

“Kevin is an incredibly talented and thoughtful photographer who has an attention to detail beyond compare,” Lollis said.

The son of an Army officer, Gutting spent time in Germany, Kansas, Korea, Ohio and then Texas, where he earned a journalism degree at the University of Texas, after initially starting out pursuing civil engineering studies.

“When I realized he had almost majored in civil engineering it all made sense to me,” Lollis said. “He has something not all photographers have — an engineer’s brain with a need for creativity that cannot be contained. He will be sorely missed as a member of our staff and in the community.”

His first published photograph was in the Daily Texan in 1984, showing former Vice President Walter Mondale, then the Democratic candidate for president, on the campaign trail in front of the LBJ Library.

At the Gazette, Gutting sporadically covered national political events, including a presidential debate between President Bill Clinton and Republican challenger Bob Dole at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford in 1996, and in 2017 heading down to Washington, D.C., for The Women’s March.

Over the years, Gutting earned awards from the National Press Photographers Association and the New England Newspaper & Press Association. He has also seen changes in the industry, recalling the days when he would have to read film negatives on a light table, and the past 20 years of exclusively digital photography.

On Gutting’s last day, he shot a stand-alone photograph of a person in the water at the DAR State Forest in Goshen.

He has no particular plans in retirement, aside from biking, which he will continue at the JAM Fund Grand Fundo at the Cummington Fairgrounds over the weekend. That ride benefits youth participation in Cyclocross.

Gutting observes that he will no longer have what he terms the “free pass” that journalism affords to approach people, often out of the blue, and learn more about them.

“I’m going to miss visiting different places every day, the schools, the businesses, and meeting people on the street,” Gutting said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.