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Along the Shore – Photographs by Steve Rosenthal

Aug. 3, 2019 — Dec. 1, 2019

One year ago, the Cape Ann Museum reached out to Manchester architect and photographer Steve Rosenthal to enlist his help in the development of Homer at the Beach. It had struck exhibition planners how fortunate they were to be able to experience firsthand the sites that inspired Winslow Homer, being free to visit Annisquam and Manchester, Eastern Point and Ten Pound Island and immerse themselves in the beauty of each place, year in and year out. Realizing the importance of extending this privilege to all, Rosenthal was invited to join the project and charged with helping expand and enrich the presentation by exploring Homer’s places through the lens of his camera.

Rosenthal began with Homer’s paintings, carefully studying the artist’s entire body of work but particularly the paintings in this exhibition. In doing this, Rosenthal came to understand what captured Homer’s interest about Cape Ann, how it was the natural landscape, rather than the built one, that fascinated him and how the artist took advantage of the area’s intense light, enhanced by the surrounding ocean. Rosenthal also gained insights into the great artist’s working methods, how he adjusted his angle of vision and made use of cropping and subtle changes in scale to enhance and enliven a composition. Armed with this knowledge and a deep appreciation of how the commonplace can be transformed into the poetic, the photographer set out to explore Cape Ann as the painter had 150 years ago.

It was never Steve Rosenthal’s intent to walk in Winslow Homer’s footsteps, nor was it to create a literal, or photographic, representation of the artist’s work. Rather, Steve’s goal, and indeed his accomplishment, was to let his own creativity be sparked by the greatness of Homer and by the spirit of this place we call Cape Ann.

 

Steve Rosenthal (top to bottom): Eagle Head in the Morning Fog; Halibut Point Surf #1; The Lannon in the Harbor; Halibut Point Surf at Sunrise. 2018, archival pigment prints. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum. Gift of the photographer, 2019.

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