Tag Archives: Photography
Catherine Ryan Submits-
Gloucester, MA in landmark FSA/OWI documentary photographs
American Photographer HOWARD LIBERMAN
150 FSA/OWI photos in Gloucester, MA, September 1942
Here is Part 3 in a series about Gloucester photographs in the legendary Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) collection within the Library of Congress.
You can go back to Part 1 about artist Gordon Parks, and for some background about the program (1935-42).
Part 2 is about photographer Arthur Rothstein with a timeline and quick facts.
In 1942, the Farm Security Administration Historic Photographic section program was winding down as it transitioned and prioritized for WWII. It was temporarily folded into the Office of War Information before shutting down completely. (Gordon Parks was brought on board during this transition.) Director Roy Stryker was occupied with many directives including securing a safe haven for the FSA archives. He was also maintaining a network of contacts in the publishing world and private sectors, and writing. He contributed a chapter for Caroline Ware’s influential book, The Cultural Approach to History. There was magazine work such as the 1942 issue of The Complete Photographer which published articles by both Arthur Rothstein (“Direction in the Picture Story”) and Roy Stryker (“Documentary Photography”.)
Rothstein had already left the FSA. In 1940, Peter E. Smith Publishers, Gloucester, MA, produced his photo book, Depression Years as Photographed by Arthur Rothstein. This compilation of photographs included the best known Gloucester image from his 1937 visit; was it one of the publisher’s, too.
In 1941, Elmer Davis was appointed as the Director of the newly created Office of War Information (OWI). In 1942, Davis hired Francis Edwin Brennan from FORTUNE magazine to head the Graphics Department of the OWI.
As Art Director of Fortune (1938-1942), Brennan commissioned famous covers by artists such as Otto Hagel and Fernand Leger. He was known in the industry as a serious art and publishing expert and was a favorite of Henry Luce.
It’s likely that Brennan was one contact for Howard Liberman’s engagement at OWI. In August of 1941 Brennan featured a FORTUNE magazine special portfolio of sample posters to showcase the development and potential of this media. Howard Liberman was one of the artists he commissioned; here’s his contribution for that issue:
And here is a poster Liberman created for the OWI.
Liberman worked with color photography, too, which is a sub-collection at the Library of Congress, less known than the black and white. Color photography was available, but more expensive to process and for media publishers to print.
Howard Liberman was dispatched to Gloucester in September of 1942. His photographs show a clear emphasis on WWII dominant coverage, sometimes with an FSA take. The titles on Liberman’s OWI photos often lead with a heading. For Gloucester, many images have caption leads that begin with the patriotic category: VICTORY FOOD FROM AMERICAN WATERS.
In Gloucester, Howard Liberman spent a time on the docks and out with the crew of the OLD GLORY.
His captions seldom include surnames of the portrait subjects. They do have lengthy– sometimes general, sometimes quite specific– descriptions to support the category heading.
There are action and portrait shots of the crew catching rosefish during an Old Glory voyage.
“Victory food from American waters. At the docks in Gloucester, Massachusetts, crew members prepare their trawler for a week’s voyage. Most of the fishermen in the city come from a line of fishermen that dates back for centuries.”
“Victory food from American waters. Immediately after being caught rosefish are shoveled into the hold for packing the ice. Once called “goldfish” because of their brilliant color, the fish are finding a ready market because of their manifold uses–as food for humans, as fish meal and fish oil.”
“Crew members throw overboard excess ice from Old Glory’s hold. Fishmen allow a proportion of one ton of ice to three tons of fish. When the catch is unusually large as on this trip, some ice is removed to make room for the fish.”
“Victory food from American waters. Decks are covered with tons of rosefish as the Old Glory reaches its capacity load. After two and one half days of fishing, a catch of 85,000 pounds has been hauled in”
“Tomorrow’s fishermen–young Gloucester boys push wagons of rosefish from the unloading pier to the processing plant where the fish are filleted and frozen…Many of the boys will follow their forefathers and fishermen in New England waters”
Look for ‘scenes’ such as Captain John Ribiera (surname spelled a couple of ways in the archive) at work and with his wife at home. 1942 census indicates “Oscar (Irene) fishermn Riberio” at 18 Perkins Street.
Note the picture of “the Pilot at the Wheel” above the stove
Another reminder to look for exhibits to see vintage prints in person, rather than the low resolution files I’m showing here. Various resolution options are available at the Library of Congress. Besides the formal details, check out the Captain’s eyes!
The “Mother of Good Voyages” statue in Captain John Riberia’s quarters on the fishing trawler “Old Glory”
There are a couple of Gloucester interiors (deteriorated negatives) of the Gloucester Mariners’ Association; they infer “captains welcome only.” One shows a gentleman playing cribbage; another shows Captain Ben Pine, the man who raced the schooner Gertrud Thebud.
Joey, beautiful dangerous industry: shoveling fish into the rotary scaler at a fish packing plant.
For assignments in other towns, typical headings for Liberman categories include:
Americans All; Subcontracting; School Boys in Training; Industrial Safety; Office Equipment Used by WPB; Women at War; Fuel Oil Consumption; Women Workers (see below making flags); Airports (ditto other industries); Military (e.g. Fort Belvoir); African American Aircraft Propeller Workers (ditto other jobs); Shipyard Workers; Bomber Plant Workers; Price Control; Production; Submarine Chasers; and Conversions (from this to look here it is now was a useful WWII product)
There are more than 50 additional Gloucester photos in the Library of Congress collection, and one Royden Dixon image from 1940.
We are fortunate that so many talented artists worked on the FSA/OWI project, that a few visited Gloucester, and that so many folks across the county were willing to participate as subjects (easier during the War)
The municipal employees and the curators and staff who have worked on these collections (over decades) are superstars. Beverly Brannan is the curator of 20th C documentary photography at the Library of Congress.
For the FSA/OWI program, Director Roy Stryker proselytized that photography was perhaps the best tool for analyzing living history. He felt that photography as a fine art form and its gains in technical ease and advances coincided ideally with the timing of the FSA/OWI historical photographic section. He forecast rapid and constant increase in photography use and adapters. He was inspired by individual and private pioneering antecedents (Brady/Civil War, Hines/Russell Sage), and public ones such as the documentary photographs by William Jackson for the Department of the Interior.
Sometimes I think of Stryker’s Section work along a continuum of government spending on exploration that produced great contemporaneous historical records. The journals of Lewis & Clark. The work created by artists who participated in the NASA Art Program. These FSA photographs.
Stryker realized that there were collections of photography building up in municipalities big and small; how they were catalogued and assessed were critical to their use. Here in Gloucester, the Cape Ann Museum maintains a Historic Photo Collection containing over 100,000 images from 1840s through now. Photography is included among its permanent and temporary exhibits and what’s not on view can be researched at their archives.
GLOUCESTER PHOTOGRAPHY PRE, DURING AND POST FSA/OWI
There were many independent artists as well as staff photographers (local newspapers, businesses such as Gorton’s, etc.) working in photography here in Gloucester. Every decade has wonderful examples such as Herbert Turner, Alice Curtis (and other photographers that Fred Bodin features), and David Cox’s father, Frank L. Cox.
There were numerous visits from staff photographers of major publications like Life, Vogue, National Geographic, and more. Gordon Parks came back at least two more times; a few other celebrated staff photographers that came through include Luis Marden, Eliot Elisofon, Yale Joel, Co Rentmeester and Arthur Schatz.
No- photographic artists who also worked in photography is another long list, and would include Leonard Craske, Emil Gruppe, Philip Reisman, and many others.
Good Morning Gloucester features photography, that’s for sure.
-Catherine Ryan / all photos Library of Congress, FSA/OWI black and white photography collection
This Friday. Carol McKenna’s New Visions Opening Reception at Cape Ann Giclee. Don’t miss it. Openings at Cape Ann Giclee are always great.
I signed up for this National Geographic Travel photo seminar. It is next Sunday in Hartford. Check the link for the details and if others sign up maybe we can figure a car pool.. http://bit.ly/1ifiS5L It says Fall Series 2013, but don’t believe that. The link takes you to the registration for next Sunday.
Now that Paul Morrison has officially launched the winter Ice Crystal photos
here’s a few more. -Len Burgess
Nor’East Frameworks was opened in October of 1995. Owner CF “Chuck” Haybeck offers ready made photo frames as well as custom made frames in all sizes and various shapes. He uses a variety of woods including such things as recycled wood from fishing boats in Thailand.
Of the unusual things he has framed there was a shadow box frame he made to contain the x-ray of a broken bone along with a custom bent titanium rod that was used to set the injury.
There are all sorts of stories with every custom frame. A man and his wife to be were in Italy where he proposed and they celebrated (she accepted…) the moment with a bottle of wine. The gentleman was able to buy another bottle and have it shipped home where he held it for their tenth anniversary. Chuck was asked to build a shadow box to hold the empty bottle. I think Chuck could write a book of such stories.
On the fine art side Chuck has framed a 1914 John Singer Sargent painting. In this category Chuck provides restoration or replacement of museum quality frames.
An artist as well, Chuck has a BA in Fine Arts from Boston University. As a result he looks at all projects with the eye of an artist, not just a framer. He says that a new or increasing problem for preserving artwork for the long term is protection from ultra violet rays from the sun. Special glass is needed to provide such protection, but Chuck now recommends UV protecting glass in more situations as a result of the increased use in homes of compact fluorescent lights. An unintended consequence of going green.
Chuck displays artistic items that are for sale like 3-4 color silk screens on paper with images from around Cape Ann, suitable for framing! Artists often display their work for sale on the walls of Nor’East Frameworks so its worth checking out Nor’East Frameworks if you need a frame, or not. Nor’East Frameworks is located across from the train station in Manchester at 40E Beach Street.
Cape Ann calendars make a great gift for those who used to live here, someone in the service, or for friends who would love to live here someday! They can be mailed directly or you can pick them up at Present, 33 Main St here in Gloucester. Here’s where you can order: http://slowephoto.com/?p=6864
These calendars have become favorites for people all over the country! Year after year folks re-order for gift-giving or to keep for themselves. I love the notes I get from those who have received calendars during the holiday season.
The calendars make great holiday gifts for:
-Your kids’ teachers
-The dog groomer
-Friends who have moved away
-An elderly person
-Mail delivery person
-Your favorite waitress
-Newspaper delivery person
Just about anybody! (Even your therapist!!)
Good Harbor Beach desk calendar:
Spotlight on Kathy Gerdon Archer
Kathy owned and operated White Bird Gallery on Rocky Neck for many years where she sold her fine art photographs. Separate from her gallery, she also sells her work commercially to hospitals and hotels.
Above are some of the work she will have at the Rocky Neck Holiday Art & Fine Crafts Show. Her images of flowers are typically produced on a very large scale but for this event she plans to produce them smaller, making them a more affordable gift possibility.
Kathy is on the Board of The Rocky Neck Art Colony and The Goetemann Residency Program here in Gloucester. She is also a member of The Copley Society of Boston, The Cambridge Art Association and The Kingston Gallery in Boston’s South End, where she will have a show in February of 2014. http://www.Kathleengerdonarcher.com
You can see more of Kathy’s work at The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street, East Gloucester during the Rocky Neck Holiday Art & Fine Crafts Festival
Saturdays and Sundays, Noon-4 PM
November 30 – December 29
Spotlight on Carol McKenna
Carol is a Gloucester native who lived away for 22 years and has happily been back on Cape Ann for 14. She has been a member of the Rocky Neck Art Colony for two years. A renegade from the traditional work worlds of Education and Psychology, Carol is now being true to that little girl who was given her first camera at the age of six, primarily spending her time photographing nature around Cape Ann with her little yorkie, Zoe. Carol also writes Japanese haiku, tan rengas and posts her photography, poetry and a bit of art on her blog http://www.acreativeharbor.com.
You can see more of Carol’s work at The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street, East Gloucester during the Rocky Neck Holiday Art & Fine Crafts Festival
Saturdays and Sundays, Noon-4 PM November 30 – December 29
and look for her during one of the fun parties:
Friday, November 29, 5-7 PM Gala First Choice Preview Party
Saturday, December 7, 2-4 PM High Tea
Sunday, December 15, 3-5 PM Happy Hour
Saturday, December 21, 2-4 PM Winter Solstice Party
Sunday, December 29, 2-4 PM Pre New Year’s Party
Sequencing, Editing & Direction
with Nubar Alexanian
Two-Day Photography Workshop, October 26 & 27
10:00am to 5:00pm
Limited to 12 photographers
Tuition: $325 Lunch included
A $100 Refundable Deposit is required (see below)
Apply by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
More about Nubar here: http://nubar.com/gallery/bio.html
The Workshop will be held at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center – 6 Wonson St. Gloucester, MA http://www.rockyneckartcolony.org
A two-day workshop for intermediate & advanced photographers to build, edit & sequence a strong portfolio or body of work. Whether you’re working on a long-term project, building a portfolio, a book or trying to find a cohesive thread in your work as a whole, each participant’s work will be reviewed with emphasis on how to strengthen their ability to communicate ideas visually.
In this workshop, you’ll gain important perspective on the editing process as you work to refine your own portfolio, and how to look at your work and see what it’s asking for. We’ll also explore how sequencing and context can alter the power and meaning of images. Our goal is for you to leave this workshop with greater insight and confidence in the direction of your own work.
So important, and so cool! Thanks to all the firemen who put their lives at risk on a regular basis to keep our people and our property safe!
- Matthew Green
Rocky Neck Gallery’s Summer Artists Series: Ice Cold: Natural Extracts New photography by Skip Montello and Tom Robinson-Cox Wednesday, August 14 – Tuesday, September 4, 2013 Artists’ reception this Friday, 8/16 @ 6-8 PM
Skip Montello & Tom Robinson-Cox are exhibiting photography at the Rocky Neck Art Gallery starting tomorrow, Wednesday, August 14 for three weeks. But don’t wait, or at least, don’t miss the artist’s reception this Friday from 6-8PM.
Click the Rocky Neck Art Gallery Banner above to go to the Gallery Website for details or the artist’s names to go to their sites.
Fun Fact from the gallery website: You have walked by 55 Rocky Neck a million times but did you ever wonder why the building looked like that? The Answer: Those shingles are Russian stamped steel painted with copper boat bottom paint.
Another Fun Fact: the name of their exhibit is “Ice Cold: Natural Extracts”. Now if you were going to have a reception on a Friday night (6-8PM) in August with a name like that you might expect some nice cold natural extracts, maybe a pitcher of Margaritas or even martinis so cold you have those little flecks of ice floating on top? (Just thinking out loud here.)
This lovely little chapel of St. Anthony by the Sea (near Niles Beach) belongs to Holy Family Parish. It is open for Sunday services at 9:30AM only in the summer, and for weddings until the fall. I think the stained glass windows are absolutely beautiful, real works of art.
For more about the history of the chapel, visit this link (thanks to Fred Bodin for the great info)!
Photos taken on the NY-PA border.
One of the perhaps lesser-known antique/vintage stores in Gloucester is Vintage 211 (211 East Main St., open Fri-Sun 11am-6pm), aka “Bob and Dave’s place”.
It’s right across the street from Scout Vintage Finds, so it’s easy to visit both at once! They also have similar hours, which is convenient for planning.
I heard about this store by word of mouth, and I’m glad I did! Bob stocks a wide variety of things, but is unique in having a focus on men’s vintage (and not) clothes, and wool sweaters. Other stores I’ve visited for this series of posts have some mens’ clothes, but no one else really has it as a special focus; most often, there are as many or much more women’s clothes than men’s. Here are a few photos of the many things in stock:
And Bob is a really nice guy, too. He actually looks a lot like an uncle on my father’s side of the family, at least in this photo:
and a leather coat which he sold me for $30, at least a 90% discount compared to buying new (and it is in like-new condition). Since he is also a photographer, we had some fun… I pulled a “Game of Thrones” pose on a wicker chair in the store and Bob snapped some photos. He’s really good at it! I had some fun with them afterwards in Photoshop: