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“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers
Here we are, in the final weeks of summer. For many of us, it’s the last chance to drink in these beautiful days by a favorite body of water. If you are lucky enough to travel to artsy Portsmouth, New Hampshire or along the craggy Maine coast these days, there are several photography shows that are worth seeing.
The long days of summer are beautifully evoked in Meg Birnbaum’s series, “Corn Dogs and Blue Ribbons”, now in the Loft at Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, N.H. Birnbaum has the enviable ability to suspend the essence of a moment, an otherworldly effect fostered by her use of a toy camera, square format and B&W film. In her unexpectedly serene images from state fairs, Birnbaum’s keen eye focuses our attention on fleeting moments that evoke the intangible spirit of summer.
Birnbaum’s exhibit runs through September 7th, 2014 along with paintings and sculpture in the main downstairs space at Drift Gallery. I’d like to mention here that the Drift sits on an exquisite slice of heaven, on the banks of Little Harbor at the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion Historic Site, a short hop from quaint and bustling downtown Portsmouth, N.H. – a terrific day trip from Boston. For more information and directions, go to: http://www.drift-gallery.com/meg-birnbaum.html#.U-xRfrxdWXh
On exhibit now at the Stone Crop Gallery in York, Maine is “Girls of Summer”, featuring the B&W darkroom photographs of five recent graduates of the New England School of Photography in Boston. Aoife Shanahan (above) creates shadowy images of urban landscapes that fill her frame with an edgy uncertainty in the familiar. In contrast, Cori DiPietro (below) uses light to infuse bleak urban spaces with a veil of beauty and hope.
The gelatin silver photographs of Jenna Stebbins sport a fun-loving absurdity while Elizabeth Ireland’s reflective images create a sense of apprehension. Alyssa Minahan’s contemplative photographs seem to halt time.
Unusual for today, all five women artists have created gelatin silver photographs in a wet darkroom, accentuating the nuances of their B&W work with a rich and full tonality. The exhibit will run through September 4, 2014. For more information and directions, go to: http://www.stonecropgallery.com/current-exhibitions.php
Nancy Grace Horton is showing photographs from her series “Ms. Behavior” at the historic George Marshall Store Gallery (a property of the Museums of Old York, Maine) in a group show with painters Richard Brown Lethem and Amy Brnger and sculptor Cabot Lyford. Horton’s witty jabs at traditional feminine roles cloak her disarming parodies in wonderfully vibrant and graphic compositions.
There will be an opening reception at the George Marshall Store Gallery on Saturday, August 30th from 5-7 PM. The show runs through October 5, 2014. For more information and directions, go to: http://www.georgemarshallstoregallery.com/resources/Show4WEB.pdf
Feature image: “Circle Swing, 2007” archival digital print by Meg Birnbaum (courtesy of the artist and Drift Gallery, Portsmouth, NH)