Kosti Comes Home

An Exhibit of Maritime Images by Maine’s Iconic Photographer Kosti Ruohomaa

Kosti Ruohomaa was born to Finnish immigrants and raised on farms. His artistic bent became apparent early. Leaving his last childhood home on Dodge Mountain in Rockland, Maine, he quickly carved out a place for himself in the commercial art world.

Ruohomaa signed a contract with the Black Star Agency in NY in 1944 when photojournalism was emerging as an exciting new medium. His talent evolved rapidly, and his rise to prominence kept pace. His work graced the covers and pages of big magazines of the day—Life, Look, Time, Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic. He travelled the country and the world. Luminary Edward Steichen chose one of his photographs for inclusion in the famed Family of Man exhibition at MoMA.

However, Ruohomaa was never far from home. His passion for his roots, his rustic early life, and his poet’s eye make him still a true ambassador of Maine folk life. Penobscot Marine Museum is deeply pleased to present a glimpse of his work. Our sincere thanks to our sponsor, Camden National Wealth Management, whose generosity made the exhibit possible, and to Black Star Agency for donating the photographer’s negatives to our museum. Many thanks also to Deanna Bonner-Ganter, Kosti’s biographer and the co-curator of this exhibit, whose time and knowledge have been invaluable in helping us better understand the collection.

In Memory of Kosti, 1913-1961

The Exhibit

On Assignment

On Assignment

The Kosti Ruohomaa Black Star Collection consists of the lion’s share of Ruohomaa’s professional work covering the period of 1944-1961. The collection is broken down by assignment. There are bankers boxes filled with manila envelopes, each containing the various...

All images copyright Blackstar Publishing.