The first lecture in the Camden-Rockport Historical Society’s winter series will be Kosti Ruohomaa, Legendary Photographer of Maine, presented by Deanna Bonner-Ganter, the Maine State Museum’s Curator of Photography, Art, and Archives, Sunday, Jan. 10, at 2 p.m. at Camden Public Library. Bonner-Ganter is author of the new book “Kosti Ruohomaa the Photographer Poet,” which will be available in late January.

Kosti Ruohomaa, born to Finnish immigrants, grew up on farms in Vermont and in Rockland. Ruohomaa had a natural talent in drawing and painting; and acquired a lifelong love of literature and poetry born in his high school English class.

Art studies led to a competitive job as drawing board artist in the effects department at Walt Disney Studios during the making of “Fantasia.” Ruohomaa’s photographs made in the Camden and Rockport area were published nationally in such publications as LIFE Magazine in the 1940s and 1950s and will be included in the presentation.

Ruohomaa’s approach to photojournalism emphasized and focused on mood and drama. His camerawork appeared in mid-20th century national magazines of rural life portraying men’s work, close to the land and close to the sea, the folkways and folklore of the people — a way of life he saw as passing.

Bonner-Ganter encourages everyone to visit the Maine State Museum exhibition “The Passionate Photographer: Kosti Ruohomaa’s Maine in Magazine Photojournalism.” Presented in a newly constructed, beautifully lighted gallery, the exhibit explores the meaning of photography to Ruohomaa’s life through viewing his photographs.

“I started research in 1993 on this man’s life, who became a local legend and now a Maine legend, and on his work, with taped interviews of family members, friends, and fellow professionals, many of whom have passed on,” said Bonner-Ganter.

She has curated three exhibitions of Ruohomaa’s photographs including the Maine State Museum’s current exhibit; “Mood Poems” at the Farnsworth Art Museum in 1999; and “Kosti Ruohomaa Photographer, Photographer as Poet” in the Port Taidemuseo (Art Museum) in Pori, Finland in 1998.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or