Pictures tell the story of a street

Sew good: This photo of Gerry from Gerry's Tailoring hard at work was John Slaytor's favourite. Gerry has worked in Queen Street for more than 30 years. "For me, the image sums up the generosity of spirit of the shopkeepers which I feel is what makes Queen Street special," Mr Slaytor said. Picture: John Slaytor
Sew good: This photo of Gerry from Gerry's Tailoring hard at work was John Slaytor's favourite. Gerry has worked in Queen Street for more than 30 years. "For me, the image sums up the generosity of spirit of the shopkeepers which I feel is what makes Queen Street special," Mr Slaytor said. Picture: John Slaytor
Sew good: This photo of Gerry from Gerry's Tailoring hard at work was John Slaytor's favourite. Gerry has worked in Queen Street for more than 30 years. "For me, the image sums up the generosity of spirit of the shopkeepers which I feel is what makes Queen Street special," Mr Slaytor said. Picture: John Slaytor

Sew good: This photo of Gerry from Gerry's Tailoring hard at work was John Slaytor's favourite. Gerry has worked in Queen Street for more than 30 years. "For me, the image sums up the generosity of spirit of the shopkeepers which I feel is what makes Queen Street special," Mr Slaytor said. Picture: John Slaytor

THE best of what Queen Street has to offer has been captured on camera as a way to bring shoppers back to St Marys.

Residents got a feel for the culture and characters of St Marys' main street through Queen Street Riches and Textures, a photographic exhibition on display at St Marys Corner last week.

Penrith mayor Mark Davies said the exhibition highlighted St Marys' unique identity and captured the diversity of the town's business owners, shoppers and residents.

Photography students from Caroline Chisholm College and Nepean Arts and Design Centre TAFE got the chance to hone their skills with the help of John Slaytor.

Mr Slaytor was approached earlier this year to lead the project.

"Penrith Council wanted to focus on St Marys and draw attention to its strengths," he said.

"It's been overshadowed in recent years by its larger brother — Penrith — and I wanted to pay attention to the town's strengths by capturing the personal relationship between shopkeepers and their customers."

He paid tribute to the shopkeepers for making the project the great experience it was.

"The shopkeepers were very positive and appreciated the attention being given to the town," Mr Slaytor said.

He added the students were a joy to mentor.

"I understand there was a lot of competition," he said.

"Some students told me doing this project was a life-changing experience."

Mr Slaytor said the project changed his perception of St Marys.

"I didn't have a real appreciation of St Marys until then," he said.

"I encourage everyone to visit Queen Street as there is a lot on offer.

"Anyone who had doubts will have their perspective transformed."

■ What's the best thing about Queen Street? Comment at

stmarysstar.com.au.

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