It’s about connecting…
From time to time I invite a few fine art photographers to my gallery for a Salon. I serve a light supper and we talk about photographs and what’s on their minds as photographers – anything to do with themselves and the work. Each artist brings a new image, hangs it on the wall and after dinner each talks in turn about what he/she is doing and where they are going.
Last evening I changed the program a bit and invited Maine Media Workshop’s faculty member – and an extraordinary photographer in his own right – Brenton Hamilton to lecture on “Beyond Digital”. He had covered this topic in two separate Salons I hosted in the last six months for Museum curators and I knew the photographers themselves would get a lot out of it. They did.
Maine can be a bit isolated and isolating. Everyone’s busy taking pictures and making a living and many live hours from other artists, so it’s vital the fine art photography community be and stay connected with each other and the outside world. Last evening’s Salon worked on both counts: thirteen hard-working and mature artists came together to re-connect or connect for the first time, AND , thanks to Brenton, they got a darn good look at what’s happening out there in the rest of the world – how imagery is being pushed well beyond the digital camera experience.
You can’t see the future without knowing the past and in my opinion, Brenton is the state’s foremost authority on the history of photography. I studied with him for three semesters and would do so nonstop if the history of photography course were scheduled at a time that works for me and my bi-city life. I tell my photographers over and over – study the history of photography and know what and who has come before you. It’s vital to moving forward with a unique vision of your own.
I like the way Maine’s fine art photography community is eager to connect and stay connected. Many of last evening’s guests drove 150-200 miles roundtrip to have an evening with other professionals and increase their insight into their own work. I know friendships, professional relationships and real and valuable technical information being traded are some of the results of past Salons. Add the insight and knowledge of Brenton Hamilton to the experience and it’s a picture-perfect evening.