LEWISTON – L/A Arts’ Gallery 5 is showcasing hand-painted, black-and-white early 20th century photographs in an exhibit titled “Maine Heritage Photographs.” The collaborative show with VOX Photographs of Portland features the works of J.C. Bicknell and Ralph Farnum Blood, two eminent landscape photographers.

Besides images by the featured photographers, there will also be a group of anonymous photographs depicting life in the early 20th century. Among them is “Six Dames and Their Cigars,” showing six young women wearing long skirts and bowler hats and holding fat cigars.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the gallery at 49 Lisbon St.

Blood (1905-1972) honed his craft in the early days as manager of Manhattan’s Bachrach Photo Studios. After moving to Maine, he spent half the year photographing Maine’s coast and the rest in the studio. He is respected for his keen instinct for composition and his patience in waiting for the best possible moment for each shot. His wife, accomplished painter and teacher Laura M. Blood, hand-colored the original black-and-white images.

The Bloods’ images were constant winners in exhibitions in Europe and the United States, and were regularly featured in newspapers from coast to coast. The only other original hand-colored image of Portland Head Light, 1931, is in the White House. But Blood chose not to draw attention to himself, repeatedly stating, “A man’s work and word will speak for him.”

One of Portland’s most famous early 20th century photographers, Bicknell was born May 28, 1871. At the age 7, he nearly lost his life, and did lose his right arm, after falling out of a tree.

Bicknell took the vast majority of his photographs in Maine, in Portland, Rangeley, Eustis, Bethel and many other areas.

In addition to the exhibited digital archival prints, the gallery will have portfolios of other works by the two photographers. Limited edition, archival digital replicas of their photographs are available in several sizes, with prices ranging from $100 to $450. Bicknell’s grandson and Heather Fredrick of VOX Photographs will be on hand at the reception to answer questions about the exhibit.

Regular gallery hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, and 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, and by appointment through curator Tammie Grieshaber, call 576-4805. For more information, visit L/A Arts at 221 Lisbon St., call 782-7228 or log on to www.laarts.org.


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