The Gallery on the Square presented a photography exhibit by Linda Paulus, a local photographer who focused her camera lens on the hidden gems of Franklin.

The exhibit titled, "Art of Environmental Portraits: Hidden Gems of Franklin, Kentucky," opened on Thursday. Her images focus on women over the age of 55 that exemplified the benefit of growing into mature adulthood.

"The goal of this project was to capture the beauty and charisma of some iconic women of Franklin, Kentucky for our bicentennial year," explained the info board in front of the exhibit.

The inspiration for the project was a quote by Frances Lear, media icon and magazine publisher, "I believe the second half of one's life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it."

Sadie Stewart, at age 93 was the oldest participant in the project. She said she wanted to participate because she loves being in projects like this one.

Each participant got a say in what pictures were used in the exhibit and each photo has something unique to the gem. For Stewart after raising several children and being the matriarch in her family, her children shine in the photo with her.

"When I look at that picture, I think about my children," Stewart said. "I didn't let my children go wild when they were young. I watched over them. I kept them in church, in school and always encouraged them to do the right thing. They all know how to do a little of everything. It's important to know how to do a little of everything because then you'll always have a job."

Wanda Tuck was asked back in January if she would be a part of the project.

"It is just an honor and a pleasure and a surprise," she said.

Her photos were all taken at her home and they incorporated her hands into a lot of the photos because Tuck realized she always talks with her hands.

"Something I have learned that I didn't know about myself is that I am a people person," Tuck said. "I want to help make sure that everyone is treated right. I don't have to know you, but I want to be able to talk with you."

She felt honored to be part of a gallery along side the other women chosen for the project.

"I know a lot of them and they are fine ladies," Tuck said.

Nancy Thurman's photos were outside because she loves the outdoors and she is holding a picture of her grandchildren.

"We just sat out there and talked and she took pictures," Thurman said.

Thurman was hesitant to agree to pose because she does not like having her picture taken, but did agree because Paulus was the one asking.

Joyce Al-Kishaly's photograph was just as humorous as she is and she said it showed off her personality wonderfully.

"She wanted something whimsical and that is whimsical," Al-Kishaly said.

The photo is of her blowing a giant bubble with bubble gum, but she mentioned it was not actually gum just a balloon that they blew up.

"I like bubble gum, but she said that betrays you so well," Al-Kishaly said. "My husband didn't know and I said it is funny, you have to see it."

The exhibit will be up in the Gallery on the Square until the end of October for the community to learn about the Hidden Gems of Franklin, Kentucky.

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