Gallery talk with Photographer Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest on ‘New Mainers’
CAMDEN - Photographer Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest will exhibit a select collection of his photographs, The New Mainers, in the Picker Room at the Camden Public Library throughout the month of February. His exhibit will be a perfect accompaniment to the Camden Conference theme in 2017, Refugees and Global Migration: Humanity's Crisis. There will be an opening reception and gallery talk with the photographer on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 4 p.m.
Every day we are bombarded with stories of immigration. Controversy aside, immigration is America's oldest tradition, and along with religious tolerance, what our nation was built upon. The history of immigration in Maine is happening today, and is in constant flux. The exhibit and accompanying book, New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors, highlights personal stories of immigration through photographer van Voorst van Beest's contemporary portraits.
van Voorst van Beest was born at the end of World War II in Holland. He was trained as a merchant marine and worked in that field prior to moving to Maine. Since 1970 he has lived with his wife in Pownal, where they raised their children. Jan Pieter balanced his work life with his creative life through his photography.
"It is exciting to have some work that seems to have a good amount of staying power," said van Voorst van Beest. "This seems to be the case with the New Mainers photographs. The Maine Historical Society used the photographs for an exhibit in February 2016 and the exhibit will be traveling to the Camden Public Library in February 2017."
A native of the Netherlands, after moving to Maine he started in photography after taking courses at the Portland School of Art. He also studied at the Maine Photographic Workshops with Joyce Tenneson and Arnold Newman. He photographed in a wide variety of geographical locations including the U.S, Europe, South and Central America and the West Indies.
He has shown his work in solo exhibits, while he also participated in group and juried shows at, among others, the Bowdoin College Art Museum, The Art Gallery at the University of Southern Maine, The Alexander Gallery at Westbrook College, the Danforth Gallery, The Portland Museum of Art, the Gallery at the University of New England and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. He showed photographs in the "Maine Biennial" in 1979 and 1981. His work was also included in several publications, including the book Self Exposure, by Reed Massengill. His book New Mainers, Portraits of our Immigrant Neighbors was published in February 2009.