Ralston Gallery offers the most comprehensive selection of prints by acclaimed photographer, Peter Ralston, as well as an impressive collection of limited edition prints from his lifelong friends, Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. Located at the head of Rockport Harbor, the gallery serves up images of the “real” Maine.

Follow along here for Peter's "Print of the Week" series and as Peter traverses Maine's coast aboard RAVEN. He shoots Maine's famous coastline and its people, working toward a book of the nautical chart 13302.

Out There

To the best of my knowledge, this is the outermost house off the coast of Maine. And these are the seasonal residents of the outermost inhabited island along the coast; mostly fishermen, their families and a handful of summer people.

I have a special love for the people of this house and of this island. And I simply want to acknowledge that love and the profound gratitude that accompanies it.

When I first came to Maine back in the late 70’s I was clueless. Really, back then I didn’t have clue one, but circumstances were such that I was soon able to start getting out to some very interesting places, the best of them far out beyond the standard coast of Maine stuff that casual visitors get to see.

It was fetching up on this offshore island that really started my Maine education. While I had been incredibly fortunate in getting my initial Maine grounding with the couple who first brought me here, it was out on the island depicted in these two photographs that the real thing began for me.

I was befriended by two fishing couples and by the largest summer family on the island. I now think back on how green I was in those years…I didn’t yet know how to really run a boat, there were so many community subtleties that were way off my radar, and on and on. But everyone, especially the three couples I mentioned, was so damn nice to me and just naturally opened up to me being there….it was very moving then, and even more so with the passing of three decades.

The kindnesses extended to me, the entirely reflexive thoughtfulness, the great fun, the enduring caring…well, it’s all the sort of stuff that makes for the finest kind of friends and, with time, family.

They all taught me so much, just by being exactly who they are and accepting my company. It was here, more than any other place, I think, that I first really got to see Maine on my own terms and with my own eyes. Out here, way out here, away from the responsibilities and meetings and machinations of the mainland, away from even the positive creative juices of certain friends/family ashore, here I started to put down some of my first island roots.

I would always be, in the vernacular, a transplant, yet the care and feeding I received here was the true start of my Maine affair.

This island and her people are, I guess, therefore, like my first real love or lover. The one you never, ever forget. The one you will always love, deep in your heart, in a very special and utterly unique way.

— 1 year ago with 1 note
#Out There  #Peter Ralston  #family  #fine art photography  #fishermen  #island  #light  #maine  #maine photography  #sky  #Ralston Gallery  #Print of the week 
Abandon
I’m about to head to Newfoundland for ten days of cruising and exploring the southwest coast there. I just ran across this older photograph of mine and it has about it something of the spirit and feel that I anticipate finding up north there.
I came across these abandoned pediments on a small island not too far from here. Like so many other islands along the coast, it was once a thriving quarry island, home to hundreds of stonecutters and their families.
The granite business was once huge here, certainly throughout the 19th century. The stone itself was – and still is – renowned as particularly fine, and the schooners that took the cut stone to parts south could sail right up to the bold island shores for loading. Maine granite built many of the great edifices of Portland, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and many cities in-between.
In the early twentieth century, when architects became enamored of the new possibilities inherent in concrete, they stopped building with granite and overnight – literally in many cases – the quarries were abandoned.
On this and other islands, one can still occasionally find tools, not to mention the debris and machinery left by the abruptly departing swarms of quarriers. To this day the quarry islands exude an air of abandonment, of a culture and way of life that disappeared overnight. 
And this has me thinking of Newfoundland, where the centuries-old culture that was built on their legendary bounty of cod saw that resource collapse almost overnight. It has been several decades now since Newfoundland men could fish for cod…the fishery is closed…gone. Entire fishing villages, outports, were forcibly evacuated. The fishing culture went on life support where, as I understand it, it remains today.
I soon have much to learn there in Newfoundland, but what I do know is that there is a lesson in all of this. We humans have an appetite that too often exceeds our grasp; no matter what resource we crave, time and “progress” imperils so much of the natural world we inhabit. We foul our nest and once we’ve picked clean whatever bones remain, we move onto the next resource to be had.
And Big Business, there at the top of the food chain, always seems to survive. “Little people” and their communities are scarcely even pawns in the larger game. I guess that’s simply the natural order of things, but we are ever well advised to be keenly aware of the way we treat our island-earth and of how truly small we, the little-people, are.
As was once said, “To make God smile, create a plan.” We, the ants, can make our plans, hold all of our meetings, create power-points and flow-charts and quantify our goals – and so on and so on – yet, in the end, it can all just flicker away in an instant.
So, I guess this line of thought sounds somewhat morbid…but that’s not how I feel at all. It’s simply the way it is, so we must, each of us, live each day like it’s our last, and do all the good we can while we can.
Fundamentally, that’s the only plan I have.
So, onward!

Abandon

I’m about to head to Newfoundland for ten days of cruising and exploring the southwest coast there. I just ran across this older photograph of mine and it has about it something of the spirit and feel that I anticipate finding up north there.

I came across these abandoned pediments on a small island not too far from here. Like so many other islands along the coast, it was once a thriving quarry island, home to hundreds of stonecutters and their families.

The granite business was once huge here, certainly throughout the 19th century. The stone itself was – and still is – renowned as particularly fine, and the schooners that took the cut stone to parts south could sail right up to the bold island shores for loading. Maine granite built many of the great edifices of Portland, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and many cities in-between.

In the early twentieth century, when architects became enamored of the new possibilities inherent in concrete, they stopped building with granite and overnight – literally in many cases – the quarries were abandoned.

On this and other islands, one can still occasionally find tools, not to mention the debris and machinery left by the abruptly departing swarms of quarriers. To this day the quarry islands exude an air of abandonment, of a culture and way of life that disappeared overnight.

And this has me thinking of Newfoundland, where the centuries-old culture that was built on their legendary bounty of cod saw that resource collapse almost overnight. It has been several decades now since Newfoundland men could fish for cod…the fishery is closed…gone. Entire fishing villages, outports, were forcibly evacuated. The fishing culture went on life support where, as I understand it, it remains today.

I soon have much to learn there in Newfoundland, but what I do know is that there is a lesson in all of this. We humans have an appetite that too often exceeds our grasp; no matter what resource we crave, time and “progress” imperils so much of the natural world we inhabit. We foul our nest and once we’ve picked clean whatever bones remain, we move onto the next resource to be had.

And Big Business, there at the top of the food chain, always seems to survive. “Little people” and their communities are scarcely even pawns in the larger game. I guess that’s simply the natural order of things, but we are ever well advised to be keenly aware of the way we treat our island-earth and of how truly small we, the little-people, are.

As was once said, “To make God smile, create a plan.” We, the ants, can make our plans, hold all of our meetings, create power-points and flow-charts and quantify our goals – and so on and so on – yet, in the end, it can all just flicker away in an instant.

So, I guess this line of thought sounds somewhat morbid…but that’s not how I feel at all. It’s simply the way it is, so we must, each of us, live each day like it’s our last, and do all the good we can while we can.

Fundamentally, that’s the only plan I have.

So, onward!

— 2 years ago with 5 notes
#maine  #Peter Ralston  #fine art photography  #abandon  #granite  #penobscot bay  #newfoundland 
South Tower and Ground Zero
On the same day, in fact just minutes after I made the photograph “Tangled,” about which I have previously written, I came across this ledge outcrop at the end of that beach.
When I saw this jutting out from the ledge, I was instantly “there,” wholly transported into dark and dank Bruegelesque vision sof 9/11.
I don’t know what it was about that day that had me in that sort of perceptual frame of mind….”tangled” and then this, even darker stuff.
“Mama said there’d be days like this;” well, no, my ever-sunny mother didn’t really say that or feel that way, but it was one of those days. They are not necessarily bad days…but on days like that I am just tuned a little differently, I’m looking at the world through a different (mental) filter. Hey, I’m almost grateful for those days. They are what they are.
In any event, when I got home and looked at what I had shot, I went straight to the frames that became “Tangled,” and was pleased by what I had done there. But then I went immediately to the shots of the ledge and knew that I had gotten what I was after.
I’m going to digress here, because by offering two images within this one story I’m sharing something I think important…something that  Ididn’t invent by any means, but important to all of us who work as creative types. It goes like this…
The great American photographer, Ansel Adams, was a superb pianist as a young man and faced the dilemma of which path to follow in his life…that informed by his ears or his eyes. Fortunately, he followed the call of his ocular vision and the rest is history.
Given that context, consider the following quote from him, it’s one to which I constantly refer. “If the negative is the score, the print is the performance.” Amen. And as I work with my scores, I love the variations I can make as I make my prints, my performances. I take that work very seriously.
And when I beheld this “score” I knew I wanted to really push beyond my usual, conventional, conservative performance (“South Tower”) and really blow this one out…I wanted to more directly and even violently respond to the horrors of that fair and pure September morning eleven years ago.
Thus I made a very different variation on the score,“Ground Zero” by name. I dove into the Dantesque nature of the cataclysm, the sheer hell of it all. The reds of the flames and the gaping wound in the tower.The dark, tragic opera…the Godlessness.
Anyway, I don’t know how successful I was with either image…they are, after all, dark and darker. They sure don’t sell as prints. But that’s not even remotely of consequence. For once I really departed from my more restrained performances and went, for me, sort of wild.
Looking at these today, I am transported back into that hell of a decade ago and I think I maybe got something of it.

South Tower and Ground Zero

On the same day, in fact just minutes after I made the photograph “Tangled,” about which I have previously written, I came across this ledge outcrop at the end of that beach.

When I saw this jutting out from the ledge, I was instantly “there,” wholly transported into dark and dank Bruegelesque vision sof 9/11.

I don’t know what it was about that day that had me in that sort of perceptual frame of mind….”tangled” and then this, even darker stuff.

“Mama said there’d be days like this;” well, no, my ever-sunny mother didn’t really say that or feel that way, but it was one of those days. They are not necessarily bad days…but on days like that I am just tuned a little differently, I’m looking at the world through a different (mental) filter. Hey, I’m almost grateful for those days. They are what they are.

In any event, when I got home and looked at what I had shot, I went straight to the frames that became “Tangled,” and was pleased by what I had done there. But then I went immediately to the shots of the ledge and knew that I had gotten what I was after.

I’m going to digress here, because by offering two images within this one story I’m sharing something I think important…something that  Ididn’t invent by any means, but important to all of us who work as creative types. It goes like this…

The great American photographer, Ansel Adams, was a superb pianist as a young man and faced the dilemma of which path to follow in his life…that informed by his ears or his eyes. Fortunately, he followed the call of his ocular vision and the rest is history.

Given that context, consider the following quote from him, it’s one to which I constantly refer. “If the negative is the score, the print is the performance.” Amen. And as I work with my scores, I love the variations I can make as I make my prints, my performances. I take that work very seriously.

And when I beheld this “score” I knew I wanted to really push beyond my usual, conventional, conservative performance (“South Tower”) and really blow this one out…I wanted to more directly and even violently respond to the horrors of that fair and pure September morning eleven years ago.

Thus I made a very different variation on the score,“Ground Zero” by name. I dove into the Dantesque nature of the cataclysm, the sheer hell of it all. The reds of the flames and the gaping wound in the tower.The dark, tragic opera…the Godlessness.

Anyway, I don’t know how successful I was with either image…they are, after all, dark and darker. They sure don’t sell as prints. But that’s not even remotely of consequence. For once I really departed from my more restrained performances and went, for me, sort of wild.

Looking at these today, I am transported back into that hell of a decade ago and I think I maybe got something of it.

— 2 years ago
#Peter Ralston  #ralston gallery  #maine  #maine photography  #South Tower and Ground Zero  #9/11  #September 11th