A huge walk-in camera, designed by John Bielenberg and built by John Bielenberg and Richard Mann, is one of the many inter-active exhibits planned By Penobscot Marine Museum for this summer’s Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light. This is the first major exhibition to feature the museum’s extensive historic photography collection of over 140,000 negatives, prints, slides, postcards and daguerreotypes.
The camera obscura is the precursor of our modern camera. Its principles were used by the ancient Greeks to observe solar eclipses. Inside the museum’s camera obscura, light sensitive paper will be available for visitors to take their own “photographs” from the projected image, and paper and pencils will be available for sketching the image, a technique used Leonardo da Vinci in the Renaissance.
Other exhibits in Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light include Museum Selfies taken by museum visitors; Visit an Antique Darkroom complete with a glass plate negative enlarger; Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920; Twenty Best featuring the most fascinating photographs in the collection; Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015, curated by retired photography professor Michael Simon; The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection is an intimate portrait of two families of boat builders, one who built traditional wooden lobster boats for local fishermen and the other an innovator in the custom yacht business. These photographs, taken during the 1960’s and 1970’s, celebrate the uniquely Maine way of life of the Luke family in East Boothbay and the Carter family in Waldoboro. Photographer Red Boutilier captured an era in Maine boat building which set the standards for today’s Maine boat builders’ international reputation for excellence.
Included in the museum’s events will be a screening of the film The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson. Isaac Walton Simpson was a blacksmith, barber, musician, woodsman, mechanic, and father of thirteen children. This live multimedia presentation uses film, Simpson’s photographs, oral histories and live music to illustrate the pioneering frontier culture of northern Maine at the turn-of-the-century, a pivotal time in Maine’s history.
Visitors to Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light will be able to take cyanotype-making workshops; pin-hole camera-making workshops; to see tin-type demonstrations and to have their own tin-type made. Life-sized photographic backdrops in several exhibits will encourage visitors to take photographs of themselves “inside” historic photographs.
Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is part of the Maine Photo Project (www.mainephotoproject.org), a year-long statewide celebration of photography in Maine. This collaboration of twenty-six cultural organizations will offer exhibitions, a major publication, and a variety of programs exploring the state’s role as inspiration for photographers.
The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson is made possible by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission. Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920 is made possible by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council.
Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light opens at Penobscot Marine Museum on May 23, 2015 and continues through October 18, 2015. The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson will be shown on Thursday, August 13, 7 p.m.