Thursday, January 24, 2008

From trees to wet plate to poets

Bruce and I took a little trip to Western, MA this past weekend. It was a last minute get-a-way before he started his second semester of graduate school at UConn (not to mention, I crave trees every now and then). One of the photographers in my next landscape show, Paul Taylor, had an opening at the Hallmark Museum of Photography (no relation to Hallmark cards or collection), along with the super Susan Kae Grant. Paul owns and operates a photogravure press in New Hampshire, called Renaissance Press, which I visited this past summer. The fantastic retrospective included photogravures, ambrotypes, and many large gelatin silver print prints from wet plate collodion negatives. The PRC will be showing selections of the later from a series along the Connecticut River in March (see example above).

Just expanded, Hallmark now has two substantial gallery spaces and both bodies of work were immaculately presented. Hallmark does it right: the artists were picked up and driven around in limos the entire time, red carpets flowed out of the doors, and the reception was replete with extra touches. We met and talked to the Executive Director, Paul Turnbull, a former teacher at the related Hallmark Institute of Photography just down the street (which by the way is a 10-month commercial school that is unbelievably, incredibly outfitted with the latest technology). Bruce took courses there for a spell when he was about 20 and it was great to catch up with Paul, who proceeded to inform Bruce he had been following his work. Later that evening, during the artist talks at the Institute, Paul announced to the entire audience that Bruce Myren will have a show at the museum in 2009!

We had a delicious
dinner and stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast, appropriately called Poetry Ridge, near Poet's Seat Tower. Come to find out, Paul and his wife and Susan were all staying at the b&b too! We had drinks (including a plum port) and looked at old photos of the house in front of a roaring fire. Turner's Falls itself is a small village with a paper mill history and a picturesque setting. From the warmth and kindness of all of those at Hallmark, to the dinner, to the b&b house and hosts, and a brilliant breakfast and visit with all of the artists, it was truly a memorable weekend!

UPDATE: I just posted pics from the weekend on our flickr page.

ABOVE: Paul Taylor, Untitled Connecticut River Landscape #20, 2000, Toned/Stained Gelatin Silver Print from collodion negative, 30 x 40 inches. For more of Paul's work and his press, visit

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