Off Campus

Kids, Cameras, and Post-war Waterfronts

The Penobscot Marine Museum will exhibit photographs from their collection at the Camden Public Library during April’s “Maritime Month” celebration. “Kids, Cameras, and Post-war Waterfronts” is a a collection of photographs taken by Don Merchant and Maynard Bray in the late 1940s along the waterfront in Rockland and other midcoast towns. The photos will be an display all month; Matt Wheeler of the Penobscot Marine Museum, Maynard Bray, and Don Merchant will give a gallery talk and slide show with photos and commentary through time and the Midcoast on Tuesday evening, April 7, at 7:00 pm. All are welcome!

kids-cameras-and-post-war-waterfronts-exhibit

Don Merchant and Maynard Bray, both born in Rockland two days apart, became fast friends when the sixth grade brought them together again. Boats became their shared passion, and each went on to make a career of things maritime—Don by shipping as an engineer (worldwide with Isthmian Lines, then locally with the Maine State Ferry Service) after his Maine Maritime Academy education, followed by establishing Merchant’s Landing on Spruce Head Island with his wife, Sally; Maynard, first in shipbuilding as a marine engineer, then with Mystic Seaport, and finally as an editor, writer, and boatbuilder in Brooklin.

kid on raft

Don’s interest in picture taking came from his stepfather, Sid Cullen, who was the Courier- Gazette’s staff photographer (and, ultimately, its owner). Maynard’s interest came from that same source as well as from his cousin Elmer Montgomery whose collection of photos, like Don’s and Maynard’s, is now at Penobscot Marine Museum.

Don’s camera was a Kodak Duoflex and Maynard’s was (mostly) his mother’s folding Jiffy Kodak. They processed their own films and printed their own pictures. Although they still take photos and always have, those shown here cover only the post-war years from 1946 to 1949 when Don and Maynard considered local waterfronts their playground.

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