Cape Ann Museum celebrates local photojournalism on Cape Ann

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Cape Ann Museum celebrates local photojournalism on Cape Ann
The Coast Guard ferries food out to the looming Russian freezer ship Babrungas. The crew refused to work until their captain secured food other than the herring that the ship had purchased from Gloucester vessels for transport to Russia, May 9, 1998. Photograph by Josh Reynolds. Gloucester Daily Times Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA. Gift of The North of Boston Media Group, 2021.

GLOUCESTER, MASS.- The people of Cape Ann Museum have looked to the Gloucester Daily Times for over 135 years to get their news. Opening on Dec. 2, the Cape Ann Museum presents its special exhibition, Above the Fold: The Photographers of the “Gloucester Daily Times,” 1973-2005, featuring a selection of works by photographers shooting for the Times for over three decades.

“The Gloucester Daily Times celebrates the vibrant community of Cape Ann,” says Oliver Barker, Director of the Cape Ann Museum. “With more than 30 years documented in this exhibition, it captures the emotions of the people in Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Essex. The Museum is delighted to share these images that capture the details and special moments of everyday life.”

The captivating photographs in the exhibition draw on an important archive of an estimated one million photographs, a recent acquisition donated to the Museum by the North of Boston Media Group, owners of the Gloucester Daily Times. Through the photographs and personal accounts of more than one dozen GDT photographers, the exhibition reflects the people and stories of Cape Ann and shares the integral role that local photojournalism plays in documenting the community.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, news coverage relied exclusively on the written word. While photography was invented in the 1820s, almost a century would pass before newspapers embraced it as a way of augmenting their work. The Gloucester Daily Times began including photographs in its editions as early as the 1900s, sourcing them primarily from national photo syndicates. This practice was expensive, and the images lacked the authenticity of a homegrown eye. That changed in 1957 when the paper hired its first full-time staff photographer, Charles “Charlie” A. Lowe. In his 24 years at the paper, Lowe documented the range of life on Cape Ann and set the standard for the many photographers who succeeded him. Building on the success of the Museum’s 2009 exhibition featuring Lowe’s work, Above the Fold will focus on the newspaper’s next generation of staff photographers, technological advances that changed the field, and the myriad of ways that GDT photographers have captured life in Cape Ann.

“When processing the GDT Photo Archive began in 2021, the individual styles and approaches between the different photojournalists quickly became apparent,” says Trenton Carls, Curator of the exhibit and Head Librarian & Archivist at the Cape Ann Museum. “Some drew from the style and approach of Charlie Lowe, but all brought a fresh perspective to their role of documenting Cape Ann. This exhibit looks not only at the photographs of Cape Ann from this over 30-year period, but it also explores the newspaper, cameras, and people that brought the news to the community's doorstep every day."

During the summer session, the Cape Ann Museum Teen Council worked on their own online exhibit called GDT Through a New Lens, which showcases selected photographs from the Gloucester Daily Times through the eyes of the Council. Members of the Council chose photos that they connected with, from ones that made them laugh to photos that evoked deep emotion. They sifted through thousands of negatives and microfilm, connecting with Cape Ann’s history. Above the Fold is also the impetus for the next Cape Ann eighth-grader project, where the Museum will engage over 600 students this fall and next spring to create work, which will be featured in the galleries.

The Above the Fold exhibition will be on display at the Museum from . The Museum is hosting a CAMTalk panel discussion on the exhibit on Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m. where the photographers themselves will discuss their experience at the Times and the stories, opportunities and challenges they encountered. There will also be a members’ opening reception of the exhibit on Dec. 2 starting at 3 p.m.

Cape Ann Museum
Above the Fold: The Photographers of the “Gloucester Daily Times,” 1973-2005
December 2, 2023 - March 17th, 2024

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