Visual Poetry: The Photographs of Lynn Swigart

“Visual Poetry: The Photographs of Lynn Swigart” opens at the Cape Ann Historical Museum on Saturday, September 17.

More than 30 years of work by photographer and master printmaker Lynn Swigart is currently on exhibit through January 31, 2006. A Midwesterner by birth, Swigart once described his native landscape as ‘not spectacular.’ In response, he learned to look carefully and appreciate subtleties, an appreciation that is reflected in his photographs.

Most of the more than 130 photographs on exhibit were taken in Gloucester in 1976, 1977, or 1978. Swigart first became acquainted with Cape Ann in 1976, when he was approached by Sherman Paul, professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa, who proposed that they work together on a book. Paul was writing extensively about the poet Charles Olson, whose poetry was about place, and Olson’s place was Gloucester. For two and a half years, Swigart photographed Cape Ann in every season. Swigart’s book Olson’s Gloucester was published in 1981.

Working mostly in black and white, Swigart’s vision is consistent. He prefers to work in series, following themes and images over time to discover as much about a subject as he can. He did this with the Gloucester photographs. Images from other open-ended series, such as Tanks, Landscapes, From Nature and Artists as Subjects are on display in an adjoining gallery.

Swigart currently exhibits his work at Swigart Studios in Gloucester. He will speak about his work on Saturday, December 3 at 3:00 p.m. in the Folly Cove Auditorium. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, September 17 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This program is supported in part by a grant to the photographer from the Gloucester Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.