Two Penobscot Marine Museum historic photography exhibits — “Kosti Comes Home: An Exhibit of Maritime Images by Maine’s Iconic Photographer Kosti Ruohomaa” and “The Alluring and Enduring Maine Coast” — will go on display Friday, Dec. 7, in the H. Allen and Sally Fernald Art Gallery of the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave./Route 3. The shows will run through March 28.
“Kosti Comes Home” is much anticipated, as Ruohomaa’s work has been locked away in a warehouse in New Jersey for the past 50 years. Black Star, Ruohomaa’s photo agency, recently donated an archive of negatives, prints and contact sheets to Penobscot Marine Museum. This exhibit will focus on Maine coastal and maritime works.
During the age of the photo magazine, Ruohomaa was a rock star in the photography world, with images on the cover of Life Magazine numerous times; and regularly in such magazines as Look and National Geographic. Ruohomaa was 13 when he moved to Dodge Mountain in Rockland, where his family had a blueberry farm. He discovered his love for photography in the 1930s while working as a cartoonist for Disney. During the 1940s and ‘50s, his career blossomed. While Ruohomaa photographed around the world, Maine and its people were his favorite subjects. He died in 1961 at age 47.
Ruohomaa biographer Deanna Bonner-Gantor and photo archivist Matt Wheeler will present a talk and slideshow on the “Kosti Comes Home” exhibition Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Hutchinson Center. Admission is free. Deanna Bonner-Gantor will speak about Ruohomaa’s life and work; and Wheeler will speak about the collection coming to the Penobscot Marine Museum and future plans for the exhibit.
“The Alluring and Enduring Maine Coast” is an exhibition of historic island, coastal and working waterfront photography, created in conjunction with the Maine Photo Project in 2015 and displayed at the Island Institute in Rockland the same year. It was curated by Lisa Mossel Vietze of the Island Institute and Archipelago Gallery; and Penobscot Marine Museum photo archivist Kevin Johnson, drawing from the museum’s vast collections in its photography archives. Images are of familiar places filled with characters and neighbors, offering stories of our past along Maine’s beautiful and enduring coast.
The H. Allen and Sally Fernald Art Gallery is open to the public free of charge weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Nancy Bergerson at 338-8049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.