Under a Northern Sky by Steven Keirstead

calendar icon June 1, 2024 - June 30, 2024

The Blue Hill Public Library will present Under the Northern Sky during the month of June, a solo exhibit of Maine landscapes by East Blue Hill photographer Steven Keirstead. The public is invited to an artists’ reception with Steven Keirstead and the Blue Hill Peninsula Potters for their group ceramics show on Friday, June 7, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

About his work Keirstead says, “From awe-inspiring locations like Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park to quiet stream banks, and farm fields, Maine inspires me to record what it looks like.” He quotes his friend, photographer Stephen Sheffield, who once told him, “In Maine you just need to turn around to find a photograph.” According to Keirstead, “It’s almost a universally true statement, but making a good photograph requires work. Paying attention, seeing, learning the science and craft of photography, molding a photographer’s eye.”

The works in this show are done in a quasi-panoramic format of triptychs and tetraptychs. Keirstead takes multiple portrait-oriented images using a digital camera, then processes them and prints them as one composition on a single sheet of paper using an archival inkjet printer. Instead of stitching images together into a seamless panorama, he keeps the frames separated by a thin black line, deliberately echoing older color and black and white negative film materials he used in the past.

Keirstead says that he likes the way this process hearkens back to 19th century landscape panoramic photography by pioneers of photography like Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), who used black and white glass plate negatives to make panoramas from multiple joined prints.

In contrast, Keirstead uses the latest photographic materials and techniques to produce color images. By using multiple images, he aims to give the viewer a better understanding of what it is like to be in a place than a single image using a wide angle lens would convey. He says, “Looking through the window of this style of photography puts the viewer in my shoes at the time of the capture of these images.”

The exhibit will be available for viewing starting June 3 in the library’s Britton Gallery and Roland Howard Meeting Room, subject to the meeting room schedule. For more information, call the library at 374-5515.