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Ukrainian Boy Recognized in Mount Kisco Photo Exhibit

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David Gelfand, pictured with a friend, after he received his certificate of recognition in the Young Photographer category at the fifth annual Mount Kisco Photo Exhibition. Martin Wilbur photo

Nine-year-old David Gelfand may have been forced to leave his homeland with his parents and sister in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine last winter. But the disruption of life for his family didn’t stop him from appreciating the beauty of the surroundings and people around him.

Two of his photos were of the Branch Brook behind Village Hall with color superimposed over it and another of his sister that could have been mistaken for a picture taken more than century ago.

Gelfand’s father Rudolf said he remembers that his son’s first toy was a phone with a camera and he’s been catching images ever since.

“He said every picture should be different from what it looked like in reality, in real life,” Rudolf Gelfand said.

Gelfand was one of the photographers recognized by the Village of Mount Kisco last Thursday during its opening reception and awards presentation of the Mount Kisco Photo Exhibition. The fifth annual contest and exhibit, organized by the municipality’s Conservation Advisory Council, Historical Society, Arts Council and the Tree Preservation Board, encourages anyone from the public to submit pictures each year of the nature, culture and people of Mount Kisco.

This year, organizers included an Experimental photo category to provide a slightly new twist.

Gelfand’s family stayed for a little more than six months at his aunt’s house in Chappaqua. His aunt, Jane Gelfand, said about two weeks ago David’s parents found jobs in Toronto so they have relocated there.

However, David had been so excited that he was one of the photographers being honored, his parents decided to make the 10-hour drive from Toronto so he could be recognized at the reception along with the other winners, said Shonan Noronha, one of the volunteer organizers.

Adam Reig’s photo of a single rowboat taken by a drone high above Byram Lake.

Another youthful winner was village resident Adam Reig, a senior at Fox Lane High School. He had entered photos for the past three years, but one this year caught the judge’s attention. It was an image of a single rowboat in the middle of Byram Lake taken high above the water’s surface with a drone, appearing tiny in comparison with nothing else in the water.

“I’ve always really liked nature,” Reif said. “I take a lot of photos of nature, (but) I wouldn’t really call it nature photography. I really like trying to take pictures of things you really wouldn’t notice or see.”

This year about 50 different photographers submitted more than 200 photos to the village for contest and exhibit, said John Rhodes, chair of the Conservation Advisory Council. More than 70 were selected to be placed on the walls of the community room gallery space at the library for the month of October, he said.

All of the submitted photos can be seen on the Photography Exhibition page on the Village of Mount Kisco website at

Mayor Gina Picinich thanked everyone who participated, wondering how there would be dozens of photos that were different than anything that had been submitted in previous years.

“I think how could anyone find something different that has not already been photographed, and I walked around the room and I am so impressed,” Picinich said. “Folks have captured so much of what is reflective of our community that I have never seen before because their views through their eyes is what’s brought to life.”

If you missed the Opening Reception and Awards presentation, you can view the video at:

Correction: In the original posting of this article, the link to view all of the photos entered by the public was incorrect.

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