I picked up my first camera in the early 1960s. It was my Dad’s Kodak twin lens reflex. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I carefully followed the instructions that came with the Kodak film and set the exposure for “cloudy/bright” 1/200th second at f:5.6. I focused and took a picture. A week later the photos came back from the drug store. Not bad for a kid. I was hooked on photography.
If someone back then told me that just over 50 years later, I could take a picture with a telephone that fits in my pocket and that I did not have to focus or set exposures and I could see the image instantly and send it anywhere in the world, I would have scoffed in disbelief. This year’s Focus Awards recognized two futurists; one who had the ability to invent the first digital camera and the other who thinks about the future of photography.
One thing is clear. No matter where today’s inventors will take photography in the future, we will always need a place where we can meet, look at and discuss great photography.
This is where you come into the picture. The Griffin needs your help in continuing to bring the best photography, best exhibits, best events, best lectures and best classes to the Boston area.
Last year, I unabashedly asked for a donation of $25 million to honor the Griffin’s 25th anniversary. Although I had no takers, I have not given up on my dream. Now I want $25 million to help insure that our center of photography will grow and prosper for the next 25 years. I can still picture an addition to the Griffin, made out of gleaming aluminum and glass that will house classrooms, lecture halls, exhibit space, darkrooms, computers and electronic printers.
Of course, donations of every amount are needed and welcome. When you make your year-end donations, please think big like I do and let’s make the Griffin the best center of photography in the nation. With your help, we can do it. Thanks from me and from Paula.
President of the Board Executive Director and Curator
Some highlights of the Griffin Museum’s exhibitions in 2018 include R. J. Kern: The Unchosen Ones, Out to Pasture, Kate Breakey‘s The Shadows/ Las Sombras and Traer Scott’s Natural History. These three shows carry the common thread of animal as subject. There is a continuity between the three exhibits yet each has its own unique style and perspective. Richard McCabe, photo curator for The Ogden Museum in New Orleans judged and assembled a provocative show for our 24th Juried Exhibition. Through their photographs the artists of Art-tri-bu-tion, Lori Pond, Tami Bahat, Mark Chen & Shiao-Nan Chen, Niki Grangruth & James Kinser, Torrie Groening, Calli P. McCaw, and Grace Weston tackled the subject of derivative art. Each artist’s work referenced another art piece, art medium, art form, art style, movement or another artist. Holly Roberts: 33 Years exhibition displayed a collection of work created over the course of Roberts’ thirty-three-year artistic career. Using paint and her own photographic images to form collages, Roberts reflects psychological or emotional nuance in early work and more narrative reactions to daily life experiences in later work.
We are in our third year of presenting a scholarship to an emerging photographer given in the name of the late John Chervinsky. This year’s judges include Frazier King, Laura Moya, Crista Dix and Aline Smithson. The Highland Street Foundation asked us to participate in Free Fun Fridays for the fifth year. We hosted a lecture by Dr. Alison Nordström on Photographs and Social Change. Lou Jones gave an artist talk on his panAFRICA Project. Photographer David Hilliard lectured at the Griffin on his photographic journey. Sarah Kennel, photography curator at the Peabody Essex Museum and Ann Jastrab, former director at Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco each gave portfolio reviews to our members in our Curator in Residence program.
For our 13th Annual Focus Awards we honored the inventor of the first digital camera, Steven Sasson as well as digital futurist, Alexis Gerard with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Both individuals surely have elevated the medium of photography. Todd Gustavson, technology curator at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, presented the Focus Award to Steven Sasson and in addition gave a lecture on The Evolution of Analog Photographic Technology from Handmade to Mass Manufactured Products. A week later we produced the New England Portfolio Reviews that were held in collaboration with the Photographic Resource Center. Lesley University sponsored the reviews by giving us the space for the reviews and a networking room for the participating photographers.
The Winchester Rotary Terrace has had much use over the course of a year. Winchester Rotary gifted us furniture for the terrace as well as plants for its periphery. Meg Birnbaum gives her time to plant the gardens surrounding the terrace and the museum. We held our first Members’ Day on the terrace. We enjoyed a talk by Animal Adventures Family Zoo and Sanctuary. Daddy’s Bonetown Burgers’ Food Truck came also to serve dinner and ice-cream for dessert.
We brought The Fence to Boston for another year along with GTI Properties. Next season, as well, The Fence returns to New England.
Our PhotoSynthesis program with Winchester High School and Burlington High School just kicked off its fourteenth year with artist mentor Tara Sellios. We opened an exhibition of Patrick Nagatani‘s The Race:Tales in Flight in the South End of Boston at Laconia Gallery. We had a film screening and director’s talk with film maker Lynn Estomin of her film on Patrick Nagatani called Living in the Story. Both events mark the one-year anniversary of Patrick’s passing.
Education continues to flourish at the Griffin. Our faculty has grown to include Karen Davis, Meg Birnbaum, Emily Belz, Linda Haas, Bill Franson, Brian Wilson and Vaughn Sills. Additional live and distance learning classes are now being formed for the winter and spring sessions. All of us at the Griffin including our board and corporators, staff and volunteers look forward to joining you at our many events all centered around the photograph.
We offer our public so much more than we can list here. There’s always something happening at the Griffin. When patrons visit we know their visits spur the local economy as well, by their dining and shopping in our town. The photo comes to life in Winchester, an epicenter for photography, but our reach is also far, vibrant and welcoming to all.
Thank you for your contribution to our Annual Appeal. Your support energizes our efforts to bring fellowship, art and photography to our community. Again, this year, we strive to make the Griffin a state of mind.