The River in Time: Solargraphs of the Kennebec River

Johanna Moore at Monkitree

“Hatch’s Point” solargraph by Johanna Moore

From Indian Pond to the Gulf of Maine, the mighty Kennebec River winds its way down a 170-mile course through the state of Maine. Photographer Johanna Moore lives and works along the river. The body of water and its history has served as a source of learning and inspiration for her for more than 25 years.

Moore built 120 pinhole cameras, and with the help of her husband David Keef, set the cameras along the shores of the Kennebec and many of its tributaries. Between the Summer and Winter Solstices, the cameras created a visual diary of the light that shines along the course of the great river, from Indian Pond to Phippsburg. The finished result pays homage to the Kennebec’s vitality and all that its tributaries provide to the landscape and wildlife that live along the river’s banks.

Solargraphs are long exposure images made with a pinhole camera. These pinhole cameras captured the sun as it transited the sky. Moore had great luck with her ambitious project. “Wherever I went along the river to set out the pinhole cameras for the Solargraph project, I took photographs with other cameras I brought with me. I used 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 pinhole box cameras, Holga pinhole cameras, and an old Polaroid retrofitted to work as a pinhole camera. I also created imagery using my iPhone and digital camera. I lost only 30 cameras which give me enough imagery to select an exciting representation of the sunlight captured along the Kennebec River.”

The River in Time: Solargraphs of the Kennebec River features Moore’s photographs from nearby portions of the Kennebec River. To honor the river, Johanna Moore and Monkitree will contribute 10% of the sale of each solargraph to the Kennebec Land Trust, an organization that works cooperatively with landowners and communities to conserve the forests, shorelands, fields, and wildlife that define central Maine.

The public is invited to meet the artist at a reception on Friday, March 6, 2015 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Monkitree is a fine art and craft gallery located at 263 Water Street in historic downtown Gardiner, Maine.