Barrington Area Special Voices Featured in Photographic Exhibit and Book Signing Event at the Barrington Area Library

Nationally recognized portrait photographer Thomas Balsamo has photographed countless special needs children, discovering in the process that each has an exceptional and interesting perspective on life. In that spirit, Balsamo reached out to Barrington Area Special Voices, a local, non-profit organization serving special needs children and their families. In a unique collaboration, Balsamo taught 28 special needs individuals the basics of photography, resulting in Express Yourself, a book and photographic exhibit. The Barrington Area Library’s Gallery in the Library is proud to feature the evocative, compelling photography of these individuals, from January 13 – 29, 2012. A reception and book signing with the artists and Balsamo will take place on Friday, January 13. Copies of Express Yourself will be available for purchase and signing from 7 – 7:30 p.m. The reception will last from 7 – 9 p.m., giving guests plenty of time to mingle with the artists and view their works while enjoying complimentary refreshments.

Express Yourself centers around an assignment Balsamo gave to these budding photographers: “Photograph something that makes you laugh, cry, something you love, something beautiful, and something you can’t live without.” Balsamo says of the project, “We all have gifts, talents, passions, and the ability to affect others — although some of us communicate differently than the rest of us. Express Yourself was my opportunity to inspire special people to begin the discovery process of finding and using their gifts, passions, and talents to enhance their lives and the lives of others.”

Balsamo has seen these young photographers develop a passion for the power of images and hopes they will continue to use photography as a creative outlet and method of communication. Barrington artist and Gallery in the Library co-curator Lisa Swarbrick also spent time working with the Express Yourself photographers and found herself captivated by the creativity and enthusiasm she witnessed. “These kids and young adults are a true joy to be around, and we hope the community will come out to the artists’ reception to celebrate their accomplishments,” states Swarbrick.

Photographer Thomas Balsamo developed his love of photography at the early age of ten after receiving his first camera. His ability to photographically capture people became a career in 1978. His work has been featured on CNN, CBS, WGN and WLS television and published in Professional Photographer among other publications. More information about and images from Express Yourself may be found at Copies of Express Yourself may be purchased online at

Created in 1979, the Gallery in the Library hosts six to twelve exhibits per year at the Barrington Area Library. Two local artists, Lisa Swarbrick and Kelly Stachura, serve as volunteer co-curators. The Gallery in the Library is located on the library's first floor and is open to the public. Artwork may be viewed during normal library hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sunday: 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. More information about the Gallery in the Library may be found on the library Web site, A selection of images from a previous Express Yourself book signing event is available at: All images copyright Thomas Balsamo 2011. Images from the Express Yourself book also available upon request.

The Barrington Area Library is located at 505 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington, IL.