ROCKLAND — The Solon Center for Research and Publishing announced its first writing/art project in conjunction with an exhibit at the center’s gallery, Fukurou, this past spring. The challenge for writers was to choose a fine art photograph that will be exhibited and write a story based on the image
The combination marries visual arts with the written word, helping Maine’s creative economy flourish, according to the Center, in a news release.
“This unique new platform for writers in Maine brings the artistic community together with wordsmiths, which offers exciting unforeseen collaborations,” the Center said.
“The result of our contest was pleasantly overwhelming. We received 88 entries to go with twenty-three images. Because of the quality of the submissions we decided some of the photographs would be paired with more than one story.”
The images depict Rockland and the coast in its myriad situations, moods and emotions. Writers told stories with depth, insight, candor, irony, wit and humor.
“Anyone who has every visited Maine’s coast will be able to relate to them,” said the Center. “They’ve put humankind’s instinctive emotional connection to the sea into words.”
Winners herald from across Maine. Some have been published before, but for the vast majority this is their first book publication.
Writers are: Mark Aufiery, Eola Ball, S.M. Belair, M. E. Brinton, Donna Chellis, Diana Coleman, Steve Feeney, N.T. Franklin, Lee Heffner, Donna Hinkley, Khristina Marie Landers, Rosemarie Nervelle, Ed Peele, Lynn Smith, Sandra Sylvester, Lee Van Dyke, and John Holt Willey.
Every writer published will receive a free copy of the book, Coastal Maine in Words and Art, and promotion of their story through multiple platforms.
An opening night reception, Saturday, September 14, will be a book-signing night celebration with authors and the fine art photographers Yohaku Yorozuya and Ramona du Houx, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Gallery Fukurou, in Rockland.
The exhibit will run to November. All proceeds from the sales of books and art will be placed into a fund for next year’s exhibit of the same kind. The book will be available for sale world-wide, the day of the book signing event, September 14.
The Maine Humanities Council provided a grant for the project that will enable the Center to donate books to libraries across Maine. MHC is a statewide nonprofit organization that uses the humanities, “as a tool for positive change in Maine communities.” https://mainehumanities.org/
Cellardoor Winery of Lincolnville donated wine for the opening night reception.
More about a photographic artist in the book
Yohaku is an artist with gallery Fukurou. He is known for his use of classic darkroom techniques. He’s used Ansel Adams’ zone system, polarization, solarization, as well as a camera obscura and many other methods over his career. He sometimes develops his images using ocean water, following a tradition of a few of the masters. He is a true craftsman, ensuring that all his techniques are personally applied in the darkroom. Some of his images are prophetic, like the Twin Towers series, which depicts the Towers in the 1980s, when he felt compelled to extensively record them from various perspectives.
Yohaku (aka Takafumi Suzuki) is professor at Nihon University in Tokyo, where for many years he led the Department of Photography at the College of Art. He is the assistant dean and professor at the University of International Fashion in Tokyo, with branches in Osaka and Nagoya. He is a director of the Japan Society for Arts and History of Photography, as well as a member of Kokugakai (Society of Masters of Modern Japanese Art), the Japan Society of Image Arts and Sciences, and the Photographic Society of Japan.
Ramona du Houx is the other artist in the book/exhibit. She is also the president and co-founder of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing and owns Maine Insights.
Fukurou means owl in Japanese as well as prosperity and health. The owl in Ancient Greece often is associated with Athena, the arts and wisdom. The gallery represents Maine artists, and fosters cross-cultural connections with Japanese artists and others.
The stories with art are published in Coastal Maine in Words and Art, which will be sold during the exhibit, on amazon, at local Maine bookstores, in the gallery, and worldwide through Ingram.
The Solon Center for Research and Publishing is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Maine Public Benefit Corporation that helps build community in Maine and beyond through educational, literary, scientific and artistic means, with publications, research, exhibits, events and other initiatives. SCRP is also a platform where people from diverse disciplines can examine issues of cultural and environmental importance, while developing connections. http://soloncenter.com/
For more on The Solon Center’s Gallery Fukurou — https://galleryfukurou.com/