The Adirondack History Museum opened for its 2017 season with a reception celebrating its new art show, “A Sense of Place: Photography of the High Peaks Region.”
“Our way of seeing and being in the Adirondacks has changed in many ways since the early days of settling and visiting the region. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries photography was about documenting progress and presence. Photographers today are seeking silence and solitude,” said Exhibit Curator Dan Keegan.
Keegan is the retired director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, and former Executive Director of the San Jose Museum of Art. Keegan, who became a full-time resident of Westport upon his retirement in 2016, has been visiting the Adirondacks for over twenty years.
The show combines the work of modern photographers with a display of historic images. While some of the historic images are by well-known individuals like Seneca Ray Stoddard, George Bacon Woods, and W. A. Casselman, many of the photographers remain unidentified.
“I deliberately sought out historic photographs from a variety of sources without regard to attribution. It was important to show that back then, because of the growing popularity of photography, the invention of the Brownie camera, and comparatively easy transportation, everyone took pictures to document their presence in places of discovery,” said Keegan. “We still do that today, but it’s all digital. Aren’t we all walking around with a few thousand photographs in our pockets and purses on our mobile devices?”
Over 130 members and guests turned out for the opening reception on June 2. The show will be on display until the end of the museum’s current season on Oct. 9. Several of the contemporary photographers were on hand to discuss their work.
Modern photographers included in the exhibit are Nancie Battaglia, Tony Beaver, Linda Benzon, Mark Bowie, Luke Dow, Johnathan Esper, Carl Heilman II, Joanne Kennedy, Chris Lang, Joe LeFevre, Manuel Palacios, Susan Runyon, Jessica Tabora, Chris Tennant and Ed Williams.
“By displaying historic images together with contemporary work, the juxtaposition really brings out how the human relationship with the High Peaks has altered. All of the images are compelling,” said Museum Director Aurora McCaffrey. “We’re very grateful to Dan Keegan for donating his time for this show.”
Two lectures in the museum’s summer series complement the exhibit. Bob Bayle will present “An Adirondack Portfolio: Hiking Photographs of Francis Bayle, 1902-1935,” on July 13. Nancie Battaglia, one of the featured modern photographers, will give a presentation on “Photographing the Adirondacks” on Aug. 10.
The Adirondack History Museum seeks to serve as Essex County’s center for the stories that reveal the roots and values of its people. The museum is opened Tuesday-Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from noon-4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2 for students.