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Posts from the ‘Exhibitions and Sales’ Category

Upcoming Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography

I’m happy to share with you that I’ll be participating in the upcoming Atelier 21 Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts.  This is a group show including a variety of imagery from a group of very strong photographers.  The exhibition opens on Wednesday, March 4 and the formal opening is on Thursday evening, March 5.  Here’s the information.

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If you’d like some more detailed information, the web site for the exhibition can be found here.  My selection is titled “Spirituality and a Sense of Place:  The Quabbin Wilderness.”

I want to thank Meg Birnbaum and Amy Rindskopf for their great work in making this happen. If you haven’t been to the Griffin Museum of Photography, it is a real gem.  (And, it’s free!  Closed on Monday, however.)

Reflections on the Past in Relation to the Present – Thoughts on the Quabbin Reservoir.

I’ll soon be taking down my exhibition, “Constructing Quabbin” which the good folks at the Westborough Massachusetts Public Library were good enough to host for the last three weeks.  The exhibition was sponsored by the Art and Frame Emporium in Westborough, an art and framing store I highly recommend.  In the exhibition are 10 monochrome images of the structures of the Quabbin Reservoir of the present, the Winsor Dam, Goodnough Dike and in juxtaposition, a series of color images of the artifacts of the towns lost to the creation of the Reservoir.    For those new to this blog and not familiar with New England History, the Quabbin Reservoir is a large open reservoir supplying drinking water to approximately two million residents of eastern Massachusetts.  The creation of the Reservoir involved the taking of four towns and the relocation of several thousands residents in the late 1930’s.

It has been a powerful experience for me as an artist.  My artist talk on the evening of August 28 was well attended and received.  Strangely, the setup at the Library provided perhaps the most powerful experience of the evening for me.  The talk took place in the gallery space, so I was busily getting ready when an older gentleman walked in to look around.  I don’t have permission to use his name, but if he should read this, I hope he recognizes himself.  I’m grateful for our short conversation.  It turns out that he lived in one of the four towns that was lost in the creation of the Reservoir, as a child.  I’ve posted an image here of the Dana Common School House cellar hole and that image hangs in the exhibition.  He went to that School.  We wandered around the images together.  He shared some of his memories of the construction of the Dam and the Dike and what it was like to be on the land as it depopulated.  He seemed to think that it was important that the story of the Quabbin be remembered.  There are of course many other artists and historians working at just that, so I’m hardly unique.  I’ll just speak here as an artist, but to me it is clear that each photograph or image created represents something about the way the artist experiences the Reservoir, and its history.  It is a complex set of feelings.  I don’t think that the matter is every settled, at least it isn’t for me.

I remain impressed by the engineering that created the Reservoir and its apparent effort to somehow come to grips with the wonderful hills and water that provide the context for that engineering.  It is not your average Dam and Dike.

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This is from the west end of the Winsor Dam.  I often wonder about the mind-set of those who designed these structures.  What kind of signal were they trying to send about themselves and their understanding of what was happening.  It is probably worthy of note that Frank Winsor, namesake of the Dam and the Dam’s Chief Engineer, died on the witness stand during one of the many law suits that were provoked by the Dam’s construction.

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He created a beautiful park.  Was that his intention?  We will never know for sure of course.  It is almost as though there are hints if you look hard enough.  My wife and I were hiking at the base of the Dam a few weeks ago, and noticed something in a large clump of trees just to the right of the lone tree you see above.

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A stone marker.  Of course stone markers are hardly surprising in New England, they are everywhere.  Obviously, we took a closer look.  I had to use some flash to bring out a bit of contrast in the carving on the stone.

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That’s a W.  It stands for west perhaps?  On the other side, with the help of more flash and extreme cropping:

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That is an E.  East and west?  My compass app settled the matter.  It was not east and west.  It quickly struck us that this may have been a boundary marker between the towns of Enfield and Ware. (Enfield was one of the four towns that was taken and was unincorporated in 1938.  The town of Ware still exists.)  We checked at the Administration Building and sure enough, that was the case.  Why was it left there?  They didn’t know.  They speculated that perhaps it was just too much trouble to remove.  Perhaps.  This was at the base of what was at the time one of the largest engineering projects the world had ever seen.  I would guess they had the ability to take it away if they choose to do so.

It will soon be time for me to move onto other projects I think.  I wonder if I’ll ever find a project quite so compelling.  We’ll see.  I am not sure I accomplished what I had hoped, so perhaps I’ll keep trying.  The reconciliation of past and present is always a challenge.  Several years back I stumbled upon what to me is the best effort I have seen to date and it was in the form of a prayer.  The Reverend John S. Curtis offered this prayer at the Congregational Parish in Enfield as the parishioners met for the final time on June 26, 1938.

“We thank thee O Lord for these hills, from whence our strength has come.  We thank thee for the valleys that lie between the hills; and the streams and lakes that have brought life and beauty, recreation and industry to those who have dwelt here, and visitors from near and far.  We thank thee for the countryside with its farms and fruit and fertility.  We thank thee for the pleasant villages and hamlets scattered through this area.  We thank thee for the homes that have meant so much to the people who have dwelt here; and, from which have gone many to gladness, bless and enable the world far and near.  We are grateful for those who elected to stay in this valley and make its history.  We are proud of their achievements and the things that they have inspired others to perform.  We thank thee for those who have endured to the end, have not allowed religious services to cease nor faith to falter.  And now, as we look into the future, may we not allow distrust to blind us or disappointment to embitter us, but may we, with the sublime faith of the Psalmist say; ‘I will fear no evil for thou art with me.’  Amen.”

(Courtesy Ware River News, June 29, 1938 located with the assistance of author J.R. Greene.  You will find Mr. Greene’s documentation of the prayer in his book, From Valley to Quabbin, p. 45, Athol Press, Athol, MA.)

Opening of New Exhibition

I’m happy to announce the start of an exhibition of my work at the Westborough (Massachusetts) Public Library, “Constructing Quabbin.”

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Tbe exhibition reflects my latest thinking about the experience of working at the Quabbin and the difficulty of reconciling all of the feelings that one experiences there.  The Quabbin is not just a beautiful location.  It raises quite issues that are relevant to all of us.  I’ve been thinking more about what it takes to make a society work, and in particular the sacrifices that you find whenever you scratch the surface.  The Quabbin area we know now represents a marvel of engineering and design, an incredible natural comeback going far beyond what anyone human could accomplish, a wonderful and amazingly cheap source of water, a carbon sink sucking up CO2 and spewing forth oxygen, a home for wildlife, a place for spiritual contemplation and even healing and at the same time a symbol of enormous imposed loss and sacrifice.   The individual and collective collided. Some good came of it, and some bad.  Too much to deal with it seems but I feel drawn to try. Simply put, the exhibition is about now and then with a focus on observable artifacts and experiences.  The observer will have to draw their own conclusions.

Westborough Public Library is located on Route 30, just south of the Westborough rotary. Unfortunately during much of the day the exhibition space is not supervised and as such the librarians may lock the door.  If you visit, just go to the main library desk.  The folks who work there are extremely nice and they’ll let you in. The Library is closed on Sundays.

On August 28, beginning at 6:30, I’ll be giving a slide show and talk about the images, their history and my experience of photographing at the Quabbin.  Refreshments of the non-alcoholic kind will be available, so if you’re interested and in the area, please stop by.

I want to thank the Westborough Public LIbrary and the Art and Frame Emporium, located in Westborough, for their support.

 

Mysteries of Manteo – Updated

I have already posted several images from my most recent trip to Manteo, earlier this summer. Manteo lies in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina.  It’s a wonderful place and we had the benefit of wonderful company throughout. We had more time to explore the area and to think, and both those two “t’s”, time and thinking, often make for better photography.  I’m happy to report the release of a new book, in hard copy (on fine art paper) or e-book form that includes over twenty of those images is now available from Blurb.  You can see a preview if you look to your right.  If you are on a mobile device and don’t see anything to your right, then you can click on the link here:

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Here’s some background for those interested.  I’m a huge proponent of project oriented photography, an approach most clearly articulated perhaps by Brooks Jenson, publisher of Lenswork, my favorite photography magazine.  I”ll do a lousy job of trying to paraphrase him here, but in essence, projects emerge from the photographer’s collection of assets that are subsequently grouped together around some kind of theme.  You may go out on an assignment to collect a particular kind of image, built around your own vision for a particular output.  But sometimes, things come together after the fact as well, when you’re looking at a body of work from a particular location.

Such was the case for me in relation to my Manteo work.  After three weeks I had lots of images, some of which I liked.  But I didn’t see the theme.  I knew I wanted to pull them together in some type of organized output, but wasn’t sure how.  Manteo is on Roanoke Island and as such is surrounded by water.  Now there is a unique theme.  Is that really what it’s all about?  Then as I looked at the images I found myself drawn to the most mysterious ones, ones that seem to ask rather than answer questions.  The reason became clear to me over time.

I was deeply moved by the story of The Lost Colony, one of the great mysteries of the English invasion of the continent. I’m from Virginia originally and often have some fun with New Englanders by reminding them that “we got here first.”  (Actually, we, meaning Virginians, were not even close to being first.  There were of course the Native Americans, who really were first.  Then probably some Vikings.  Then of course the Spanish, and who knows who else.)  But actually there had been a previous attempt at establishing a permanent English colony in North America earlier in the 1580’s.  That attempt took place in what is now Manteo.

It did not go well as I mentioned in earlier blogs, but the fact is that we don’t know what went wrong, to this day.  Clearly, the colonists who presumably died there were (a) pawns in a larger geopolitical dialing match; (b) left to fend for themselves by greedy privateers; (c) victimized by climate forces that they could not understand nor influence; (d) beset with their own hubris, thinking that they were well prepared to farm when they really weren’t; and we could go on.  The notion that they ran into a lethal conflict with the local Native America population has not been proven either, and in fact, the opposite could also have happened.  They may have been befriended by those who really did get there first.  Archeologists and other scientists are truly stumped.  I won’t go into the details, but if you like a good mystery and particularly if you like scientific puzzles, I’d highly recommend further exploration.

That set of events, for which the play was subsequently named, is called The Lost Colony. (Click on the link if you want more background.)  So while Manteo is a charming and quite friendly town surrounded by water on three sides , I will always think about the mystery that permeates the water and marshes.  The new book, Mysteries of Manteo, is the result.  It is printed by Blurb, which may give some pause.  I now find Blurb to be doing a pretty good job, much better than in the past. The book is printed on fine art paper and the color management is quite effective.  The images are a good representation of what I was trying to invoke.  Again, if you’re interested, you can view the book in the widget to your right, purchase a soft cover addition, or at a greatly reduced price, the pdf.  The later of course is NOT printed on fine art paper, but  then you know that.

Thanks to Al, Donna, Maya and Chester, our wonderful hosts.

Tech Note:  The book was created using Lightroom’s book function.  I was overall pleased with how well the function worked, though it is not InDesign.  Try it to create your own PDF’s.

 

Exhibition at the Brush Gallery in Lowell, Massachusetts

I’m pleased to let you know, and should have done so sooner, that I have several images hanging at the Brush Gallery, in Lowell, Massachusetts, as part of their current show, The Colorful World of Black and White.

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The exhibition was curated by Ron Rosenstock who have mentioned many times before.  I am obviously, biased, but it is a wonderful show.  I would guess that there are perhaps as many as 50 pictures in the show and nearly all of them seem engaging, at least to me.  All are in black and white, mostly printed digitally I would guess, but some were also printed in the wet darkroom.  My three images are all from the Quabbin project.

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Including one that is quite recent.

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This was all part of Lowell Photography Weekend. I had not been to Lowell in years.  The city has a strategy, anathema to some but it seems to be working in this case.  The old Mill Buildings are slowly being turned into artist galleries of many sorts, retail space, restaurants, etc.  Perhaps most importantly from a business point of view, all these efforts are generating customers as well as preserving an incredible architectural resource.  The place was jumping on Saturday afternoon.  It has a good vibe as they say.  I’d encourage you to stop by if you’re interested.  The exhibition runs through June 14.

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The Brush regularly promotes fine art photography with their exhibitions.  I want to thank the Brush and Ron for their encouragement.