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‘Kosti Comes Home’ 70 years later

Apr 04, 2019
Courtesy of: Penobscot Marine Museum Kosti Ruohomaa

ROCKLAND — The Rockland Historical Society and Rockland Public Library are co-sponsoring “Kosti Comes Home,” an exhibit of photographs by renowned photojournalist Kosti Ruohomaa, created by the Penobscot Marine Museum. The Ruohomaa exhibit will be on the lower level of the Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St., from April through July 2019.

Ruohomaa grew up in Rockland. His parents were Finnish and owned a large blueberry farm on the top of Dodge Mountain. After graduating from Rockland High School, Kosti attended art school in Boston and then went to work for Walt Disney, helping to animate the full-length cartoons “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio.” But he had fallen in love with photography, and his favorite subject was the old-fashioned life of Maine that was slowly disappearing. He began selling photographs through Black Star, a photograph agency that sold his images to Life Magazine, Look, National Geographic, Time, Ladies Home Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, and Down East, and to various government agencies.

The exhibit of thirty photographs illustrates Ruohomaa’s love of rural life and the sea and his wonderful sense of humor. There are pictures of fishermen and lobstermen, town meetings and laundry blowing in the wind. There are boys enjoying fishing in a creek and Andrew Wyeth painting in an old deserted farmhouse. There is a close-up portrait of a man in a diving mask and a study of light on an island graveyard. Ruohomaa’s photographs bring back memories of the slower, kinder, romantic life of Maine.

The exhibit is on loan from the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport and sponsored by Camden National Wealth Management. The Penobscot Marine Museum has an extensive photo archives, curated by Kevin Johnson. The photo archives contain large collections of historic photographs, which are carefully stored, scanned and cataloged, and available for researchers, writers and those who like to frame and hang historic photographs. The Penobscot Marine Museum recently acquired Kosti Ruohomaa’s thousands of photograph negatives from the Black Star Photo Agency.

The library is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 594-0310.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Christine Dunkle can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 108; or

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