NEW CANAAN — Tom Kretsch, 73, remembers the first camera he had as a child — a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye.

He has since upgraded to a Nikon D800, which he used to shoot his first photography book, “On the Road: Five Visions,” a collection of thematic shots that catalog his travels to places like Portugal, Ireland, California, Vermont and throughout his home state of Connecticut.

“I started shooting about five or six years ago and thought it would be a nice way to present some of my work,” Kretsch said. “In my shooting, the concept is a ‘less is more’ and minimalist kind of thing.”

A Westport resident, Kretsch taught physical education for 37 years at Norwalk schools. His five photographic themes range from rivers to harbor reflections to abandoned settings.

“I’ve been to a lot of places and very fortunate to travel. I went on this journey to North Dakota and found these ghost towns and abandoned houses,” Kretsch said. “I thought it would be interesting to capture some of those remains before they disappear.”

Nature and landscape pictures aren’t something new for Kretsch — he has worked on photographic essays, but this is the first time he has compiled an extensive collection of 60 images.

“There’s so much beauty locally. I did a photo essay about the Saugatuck River following it up all the way to where it originates,” he said.

Kretsch was one of four authors showcasing their work at Elm Street Books in New Canaan on Oct. 4.

“He’s a man of many talents,” said Thomas Rietano, a friend. “I’m just going through his art work and it has some great pictures.”

Sheila Rietano, Thomas’ wife, worked with Kretsch in Norwalk schools and has also been supportive of his photographic projects.

Kretsch is already eyeing another project, one where he would focus exclusively on the state of Maine, which he is planning to title “Touching Maine.”

“My family took me to Maine a lot when I was growing up, and so I’ve thought of capturing some things like water, rocks and the harbor. Though I want to include more writing,” Kretsch said.

humberto.juarez@hearst

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