A Way of Life: The Fishing Families of Stonington photographs by Jeff Dworsky will be on display at Camden Public Library from April 4, 2017 through April 30, 2017. Maritime Month will be kicked off will photographer Jeff Dworsky speaking on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Camden Public Library. This Exhibit was curated by PMM volunteer and public historian, Liz Fitzsimmons.
Jeff Dworsky moved to Maine in 1971, still a teenager. He lived briefly on an island in Muscongus Bay before settling in Stonington. He was already a photographer—intermittently so, but it had become part of his way of interpreting the world around him.
Like many young men living in coastal communities, Dworsky began to make his living from the sea, first by digging clams, then later as a lobsterman. He continued to use the camera. Much later, in 1990, Dworsky’s images came to the attention of Peter Ralston, the Rockport photographer and co-founder of Island Institute in Rockland, Maine, during one of Ralston’s visits to York Island (near Isle au Haut, where Dworsky was living with his family at the time). This recognition was the opening of a door for his photojournalism career. In 1991, he began to freelance off and on for various magazines, including Downeast and National Geographic Traveler. His insider perspective lent a power and credibility to the work which was obvious to his publishers.
Dworsky drew some of his submissions from a personal project he had begun in the late 1980s. Like many Mainers, he watched with dismay as the real estate boom during this decade began to dissolve the traditional fabric of life in coastal towns. From 1988 to 1993, he undertook an extensive photographic survey of the people in these communities, many of whom were known to him, in the midst of their lives and culture. As he puts it, this group of photographs was “…an ode to the loss of the place I chose to live, that I loved…the old Downeast coast.”
He fished steadily until 2015, and has been reinventing himself since then. This includes some time behind the lens, though he’s turned it away from the Maine coast, which, in has forever changed.