Friday evening, June 24, “People and Community, War and Peace” will open in the Jean B. Chalmers Gallery of Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Education, 24 Lincoln St. On display will be a 50-year retrospective of the photographs of Olive Pierce.

Doors will open 6:30 p.m., and Pierce will narrate a slide presentation and discuss her work and her life as a photographer at 7 p.m. Refreshments and all are invited. The event is sponsored by the Midcoast Peace & Justice Group.

Pierce graduated from Vassar College in 1945 with a degree in English. In 1948, she joined a post World War II medical mission that took her to Poland. She came home with snapshots of Auschwitz and the ruins of Warsaw, as well as the desire to become a photographer.

Her first pictures were of her own small children in Cambridge and on the island of Vinalhaven. She was fortunate to be able to study with Berenice Abbott and Paul Caponigro. In the 1960s, she received a grant from Harvard that turned her toward documentary work and she photographed politicians in the Cambridge City Council and children at a low-income housing project. In the ’70s and ’80s, she taught photography at the Cambridge High School. The resulting book, “No Easy Roses: A Look at the Lives of City Teenagers,” came out in 1986.

Ten years later, in 1996, “Up River: the Story of a Maine Fishing Community” summed up her decade-long association with a community of lobster fishermen from The Neck, near Waldoboro. In 1999, under the auspices of Voices in the Wilderness, Pierce traveled illegally to Iraq to bring back pictures of Iraqi children who were suffering and dying as a result of the United Nations-imposed economic sanctions.

Pierce’s photographs have been shown widely on the east coast and at the Field Museum in Chicago. They are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Mass.; Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland; and the Portland Museum of Art.

“All my life I have tried to find a way to connect with the world, and my way has been the camera. Wherever I have photographed, I have found people to be remarkably the same,” she said of her life and work.

“People and Community, War and Peace” will remain on display until July 7. The second-floor gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; parking and entrance are at the rear of the building. For more information, call 691-0322.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to