Portland Public Library will present an exhibit in conjunction with the Penobscot Marine Museum in the Lewis Gallery in April. Through Her Lens—Women Photographers of Midcoast Maine, 1885-1925 will be on exhibit in the Lewis Gallery April 7-29, 2017 with an opening reception held during First Friday Art Walk on April 7th from 5:00-8:00pm.
The medium of photography arose in a time of great social change in Europe and the United States, and although women’s social positions at this time would not have included them in its initial development, women were involved in the early popularization and use of the medium. Constance Fox Talbot experimented with photography even as her husband William Fox Talbot was perfecting his process—the calotype, which generated the world’s first photographic negative—before its introduction in 1841. A handful of women began opening daguerreotype studios in Europe and the U.S. as early 1843, and were among the first professionals in this technical field at a time when most women who worked outside the home were employed as domestic servants, schoolteachers, nurses, or laborers in the textile industry.
These photographs, drawn from the Penobscot Marine Museum’s permanent collections and from loans, represent the work of five women photographers, all born in the latter half of the nineteenth century and based between Boothbay and Blue Hill. Some travelled the world with their seafaring fathers or well to do husbands; others never strayed far from their origins. Some were amateurs with varying skills; others transformed their talents into income. This exhibit explores the multitude of ways women mediated—through the lens of the camera—shifting roles in public and domestic life during a time of great social change in Maine and the nation. Women incorporated camera work into their daily lives, as artists, amateurs, preservationists, professionals, and as travelers and explorers, while photography altered the way men, women, and children saw the world, themselves, and each other.
Through Her Lens can be viewed online, complete with the audio commentary, as a virtual exhibit at www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org/magic-of-photography/through-her-lens