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UMFK Blake Library Gallery hosts exhibit by Andrew Birden

February 13, 2012


Batter Falls

The Blake Library Gallery will showcase Andrew Birden's collection of photographs titled, “18 Months,” through Saturday, March 3. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, February 17 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. to meet and greet the artist at the gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Andrew Birden is an award-winning photojournalist, poet, author and the publisher of Fiddlehead Focus, a multimedia news resource based in the St. John Valley. He has earned numerous awards from the Maine Press Association (MPA) for his photographic work as well as the MPA Freedom of Information Award, Newspapers in Education Award, and a variety of awards recognizing his written work. Many people recognize Birden as the author of the Macho Chef column.

“Photography was a surprise for me. My interests have always gone into creative writing such as composing stories, news reporting or poetry, and I never considered photography as a creative outlet. However, when I began working as a journalist, as pleased as I was when I received awards and recognition for my work as a writer, I was surprised when I began receiving similar responses with my photography work,” noted Birden.

“In the 18 months leading to the launch and initial shepherding of Fiddlehead Focus, I worked almost exclusively in the Fort Kent area and almost exclusively in isolation. During that time, I revitalized my love of and respect for the people, places, and culture of the St. John Valley. It was as if I were carrying a load of cut wood in my arms and every time I took a picture or wrote a news story, it was as if someone were adding another stick to that armful. I had to set some of that fuel down and build a fire. And that's the origin of this photography exhibit,” stated Birden

“Travelling to events, speaking with people and observing the many facets of our community allowed me to understand photography from the perspective of the creative process. I found that many of the aspects of the creative experience of writing, such as the absence of a sense of self, the sense of being in a timeless moment, or the feeling when I revisited a creative piece that it contained more depth than I originally intended, also were present when photographing and editing the images of the world around me. The surprise was that photography was a way of interpreting the world that has as much depth, craft, and creativity as any of the other arts,” added Birden.

The exhibit may be viewed during regular library hours. For more information, contact Sofia Birden, gallery curator, at 834-7527.