"Fenway Pretzel Vendor" by Lora Brody
When Waltham resident Lora Brody took a photograph in 2004 of an anonymous Fenway Park pretzel vendor, she had no way of knowing how much the picture would influence her future.
But eight years later, that same photograph is not only displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for patrons to enjoy, but also hangs outside the museum's entrance on an iconic banner for all passers-by to see.
"Itís unbelievable - I gotta tell you, I was completely crazed, just so excited," said Brody, who has lived in Waltham for 12 years.
Brody's excitement is for good reason: she and five other contestants beat 700 entrants in a photograph competition sponsored jointly by the MFA and the Red Sox this summer to win a coveted exhibition spot at the prestigious museum.
"It's like the gift that kept on giving," Brody said.
The exhibition, titled Grandstand to Gallery and celebrating the 100th birthday of Fenway Park, opened July 18 and will run until Oct. 3. The exhibition is displayed prominently right inside the museum's entrance.
Three of the six winning photographs, including Brody's, were chosen in conjunction by MFA director Malcolm Rogers and Red Sox vice president/historian Dick Bresciani, while the other three were chosen by online voters.
Bresciani said he and Rogers were looking for photographs that captured Fenway Park's personalty in a way viewers could relate to.
He said what struck him most about Brody's photograph was the way she captured the feeling of a night game, coupled with depicting the ever-present park vendors.
"Pretzels and baseball go hand in hand - vendors are part of what baseball stadiums are, walking through the crowds and peddling different refreshments," Bresciani said. "We can see Fenway Park and the skyline with a beautiful sunset. All those factors had to do with our choice."
Brody said winning the contest will serve as a boon to her portfolio as a professional fine arts photographer.
"I do street photography in Provincetown and alternative processing, but it's not the kind of thing that ultimately leads to the MFA," Brody, who used to write cookbooks professionally, said.
Brody said she snapped the winning picture on a night when she had a press pass to roam the stadium, and ducked into a small alleyway within the stadium to wait for action to photograph.
"This guy appeared, and I only had one shot - that was it," she said, adding she did not know the name of the now-famous pretzel vendor.
Overall, Brody said one of the best things from the competition was the subject matter.
"I'm a huge Red Sox fan, which is one of the really sweet things about this," she said. "It's a very meaningful moment."
To find out more on the gallery, visit the exhibition's page on the MFA website.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org