Exploring The Magic Of Photography

The four exhibits in Exploring the Magic of Photography are Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920; Twenty Best; Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015; and The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection.  On Friday, May 22nd from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm the public is invited to the opening reception for the 2015 season, which will be held in the newly renovated Visitors Center on the Crescent, 2 Church Street, Searsport.

Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920 explores the pioneering work of five women photographers who excelled in a field dominated by men.  Ruth Montgomery and Joanna Colcord grew up sailing around the world with their sea captain fathers.  While on board ship they taught themselves the craft of photography and documented life at sea and life in the countries to which they sailed.  Evie Barbour’s photographer husband had a business producing photographic postcards.  She helped him with the business, and when he died in 1907 she was able to take it over and support herself and her children.  Ida Crie photographed her native city of Rockland, creating a loving portrait and important historic document of the way Rockland was at the turn of the century.  Harriet Hitchborn grew up in Stockton Springs and developed her own successful postcard business.

Twenty Best, an exhibit of the twenty most fascinating photographs in the Penobscot Marine Museum collection, includes a photograph of the Great Bangor Fire of 1911 which destroyed much of the city, the earliest known photograph of Searsport, and an unusual ambrotype circa 1870 of a Chinese steward.  Also included are photographs by the legendary Finnish-American photo-journalist Kosti Rhuohoma, who shot iconic portraits of working Americans which appeared in LIFE, National Geographic and other publications from 1940 to 1960.

Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015 explores the snapshot as a self-portrait of our culture.   In the 1800’s cameras were expensive and photography was the work of professionals, but when Eastman Kodak introduced the inexpensive Brownie camera in 1900 suddenly everyone had a camera in their hand.  What do we photograph and why, and what do the snapshots we take tell us about ourselves?  This exhibit is guest curated by retired Beloit College professor Michael Simon.

The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection is an intimate portrait of two families of boat builders whose lives and careers saw the change from wooden sailing vessels to Kevlar.  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.

Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is part of the Maine Photo Project, a year-long statewide celebration of photography in Maine in 2015.  This collaboration of twenty-six cultural organizations offers exhibitions, a major publication, and a variety of programs exploring the state’s role as inspiration for photographers.