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Maritime Photography

An aficionado's look at waterfronts, watercraft

Apr 08, 2021
Photograph from The Maynard Bray Collection, courtesy of the Penobscot Marine Museum.

Camden — The Camden Public Library partners with the Penobscot Marine Museum Thursday, April 22, at 6 p.m. for a special presentation during its celebration of Maritime Month. The library welcomes the museum’s digital collections curator, Matt Wheeler, for an online narrated slideshow featuring selections of outstanding maritime photography from the museum’s Maynard Bray Collection. Wheeler will discuss Bray’s background and examine the range of subjects embedded in his photographic work. To request a Zoom link to attend, please email jpierce@librarycamden.org.

After earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maine, Bray went to work for Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. in 1956, followed by a six-year stint at Bath Iron Works. By the time he finished there in 1969, he’d become their chief mechanical engineer. He spent the next six years at Mystic Seaport as shipyard supervisor. Here he was in his element: up to his elbows in wooden boats. After leaving Mystic for Maine in the mid-1970s, he stayed involved with Mystic Seaport into the early 2000s: he continued sourcing wood for the museum’s endless restorations, serving on the Ships and Yachting Committees, rescuing important collections of ships’ plans from being thrown out, and as one of the museum’s trustees. Shortly after returning to the Maine coast, Bray landed a gig as technical editor for WoodenBoat magazine, a position he still holds today. He’s also been writing the captions for Ben Mendlowitz’s Calendar of Wooden Boats since 1983.

Luckily for small boat aficionados—owners, builders, admirers—Bray photographed his activities along the way, beginning when he was a teenager. He donated his collection of some 20,000 black and white negatives to Penobscot Marine Museum in 2013. The photos illustrate the fascination Bray and his late wife, Anne, shared for traditional craftsmanship and their joy at being on the water.

Presenter Matt Wheeler grew up in Camden. After college and other adventures, he settled in Waldo County; he joined the staff at Penobscot Marine Museum in 2011. He enjoys the creative and technical challenges of building digital photography collections, in particular the process of bringing new vitality to historic images by digging the stories out of them and sharing them with the public.

Maritime Month is generously supported by Camden Riverhouse Hotel & Inn. For more information on this and other library programs, visit librarycamden.org.

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