September 16 – November 8, 2009
After retiring from his engineering job in 2008, Jim Whitehead focused on his passions for photography and travel, including several trips to middle America.A series of his photographs, Midwest Memories, is featured at The Griffin Museum at the Aberjona River Gallery in Winchester, MA, September 16 through November 8. An opening reception is October 6, 6-7:30 p.m.
“The Midwest was once mostly open prairie where herds of animals roamed freely,’’ Whitehead says. “Today the Midwest, our industrial heartland and the source of much of our food, is undergoing considerable change as it adapts to the new economy. There is a growing sense of the need to integrate preservation with revitalization, leveraging the past to build for the future.’’
The photographs range from places of beauty in the Midwest, such as the Indiana dunes, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, and scenes from cruising down the Mississippi River. They are also of amusing “tourist traps’’ and the charm of such places as Mackinaw Island in Michigan, where bicycles, horses, and horse-drawn carriages are the only means of transportation.
Whitehead learned about photography and darkroom techniques at an early age from his father, a commercial printer. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from Penn State, moved to the Boston area, and joined Badger Engineers, an international firm specializing in the design and construction of chemical plants and refineries. His job led to extensive travel throughout North and South America, Europe, and the Far East.
To share his travel experiences with his wife and two children he bought his first camera, an entry-level Nikon single lens reflex camera, in the early 1970s. When digital cameras became available he became intrigued with the possibilities and switched to a Nikon D-80 DSLR camera.
As his career progressed, Whitehead’s work focused on environmental protection and use of natural systems to enhance water quality. A resident of Winchester, MA, he served for more than 10 years on the board of directors of the Environmental Business Council of New England and is currently chairman of the Winchester Conservation Commission. Thus, his recent emphasis has been nature photography, including wildlife, wildflowers, and landscapes, in addition to capturing his travel experiences.