The Essence of Portraits at Belmont Starbucks: Photog Roger Pelissier also volunteers with Flashes of Hope

February 12, 2011  |  Posted by Susan Danseyar

This past Thursday, Roger Pelissier walked around the interior of the Cushing Square Starbucks in Belmont for a few minutes, carefully assessing the space while carrying a large, framed photograph featuring three smiling siblings.

He was looking for the best place to hang it and finally selected a spot in the middle of the wall where the light from outdoors caught the sparkle in the young children’s eyes.

“I love photographing people,” said Pelissier.

“If I take a shot of a beautiful landscape, I later look at it and say the only thing missing is people.”

For almost three decades, the Wellesley resident and professional photographer has been capturing the essence of children and families, encased in a moment, by placing them in meaningful environments.

“None of my portraits are taken in a studio,” Pelissier said. “They’re all in a setting that is creatively more interesting, either outdoors or a place my clients find interesting such as their favorite garden or beach.

He’s done many sessions in Wellesley and nearby towns such as Belmont. Often, Pelissier travels to different parts of the country for the photo shoots and has been “all over the world" for his work.

In the 27 years since he’s been running his photography business, Pelissier said little has changed except the advent of digital cameras.

“The end result is exactly the same but I spend most of my effort making digital look like film,” he said. “I want the digital photographs to be as beautiful and nuanced as film did.”

Pelissier often takes portraits of entire families but said children are much easier to photograph than adults.

“Babies are especially easy to work with,” he said. “If you’re happy, they’re happy right back.”

In addition to his own business, Pelissier volunteers his photography skills every month through the non-profit organization Flashes of Hope that is dedicated to creating powerful and uplifting portraits of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

He goes to Children’s Hospital, Mass General and the Floating Hospital to help the children feel better about their changing appearance by celebrating it.

“The point is to capture the spirit of a child and allow them to be a star for a moment,” Pelissier said. “A of these kids have been in a hospital their entire lives and never been photographed before. For a few minutes, they’re able to have fun and forget the routine of hospital life.”

Pelissier’s photograph, “Three Children On a Beach," will be on display at the Cushing Square Starbucks through the month of February.

For additional information, go to or call him at 781-235-5955.

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