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Moltrup's work is on display

August 02, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG - Photographer Janie Moltrup said she is thrilled to be Artist of the Month at the Mansion House in Hagerstown City Park.

It is a change of pace from her 16-year career as an official U.S. Senate photographer in Washington, D.C., but she is enjoying it nonetheless.

"I'll do just about anything that is moral and legal," Moltrup said jokingly.

A native of Prince George's County, Md., Moltrup, 53, moved to Smithsburg with her husband in 2001. The youngest of their three daughters had moved to Leitersburg so they decided to relocate to be closer to her in their retirement.

"David was a career firefighter in Montgomery County for 38 years," she said.

A photography enthusiast beginning when her girls were younger and into modeling and acting, Moltrup parlayed that into photographing weddings and working for newspapers.

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A trip to the botanical gardens in Washington, D.C., in 1988, prompted her to look into getting more structured employment, so she called and found there was an opening for someone in the photography lab at the U.S. Capitol.

An accident in the lab propelled her into the field a little sooner than she expected.

"One day I was cleaning out the black and white film processor and the drain got clogged," Moltrup said. That clog caused a hazardous materials incident in the Russell Senate Office Building.

She said they took her out of the lab after that.

The Senate had a photography staff of 13 and five of those were official photographers include Moltrup.

"I oversaw the photo reprint function in the office," Moltrup said. "And I took a lot of portraits."

Through the years, Moltrup photographed many famous people including Nelson Mandela and Yitzhak Rabin. "You get to know the people who really make a difference in the world," she said.

In her job, Moltrup would shoot press conferences, hearings and anything else that occurred in the Senate. She also got to travel to Mexico and Canada on delegation trips.

Now that she is settling into retirement, Moltrup said she is enjoying photographing rural scenes, flowers, hummingbirds and other things, and many of works are on display at the Mansion House.

"I'm adding a studio on our property," Moltrup said.

She freelances, shoots weddings, family portraits and environmental portraits.

"I'm doing just whatever I want to do," she said.

In her spare time, she paints, draws her registered trademark "acorn babies" on notecards and displays her works at festivals, shows and galleries.

Moltrup is looking into teaching photography to people who want to be better photographers.

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