The Childe within

The work of American impressionist Childe Hassam is currently on display at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Although we have yet to see the exhibit, we did visit Appledore Island, a subject of Hassam’s work between approximately 1882 and 1916. Appledore, off the coast of Maine, is the largest of the Isles of Shoals.

Our island stay was brief and, having spent time on Star, Appledore’s neighbor to the south, I knew that photographic possibilities would be endless. Because I am a particular fan of seascapes, I settled upon recording these using extended exposure.

As I looked over the first series of photos I was struck by similarities between my images and those painted by Hassam more than a century ago. The colors of our creations were similar. The vantages from which we chose to work were similar. And the use of a slow shutter seemed, to me at least, to mimic the feel of Hassam’s impressionistic brush strokes.

I once read that impressionism was the art of capturing an image as someone would see it if they just caught a glimpse of it. Perhaps. To me, however, Childe Hassam had an exceptional ability to capture the living, vital, character and spirit of nature itself.

Shoals1

11 thoughts on “The Childe within

    • Thanks Elke. All of your thoughtful comments are (as always) much appreciated. Your continued enthusiasm for my work provides a large part of my motivation for it.

  1. I have to confess that Childe Hassam is new to me so I’m very happy that you’ve introduced him. I like his style very much – I clicked through to the link and found the article very interesting – thank you. I like the way your photo mimics his style. Clever.

  2. The likeness is uncanny! I think your images truly capture that “glimpse” that people would see. I hope the Shoals has remained pretty untouched by time. Nature at her most beautiful…by the sea. Look forward to seeing some of Hassam’s floral works when we visit the PEM in mid-October.

  3. There are a couple of his pieces, although not from the coast, at the Clark Institute in Williamstown which we have seen. It’s a great museum with a lot of major work. I am a big Homer fan (Winslow, not Simpson) and there are several of his there permanently. There have been Monet, Renoir and many other special exhibits there (some of which are also in their permanent collection). And you wouldn’t want to miss my first gig as a male model. It’s a great museum in a small college town.

  4. Your photograph really does capture what Childe Hassam painted. I see how the slow shutter speed let you mimic his brushstrokes.

    When we spent a day at the Art Institute of Chicago in June we saw several of Childe Hassam’s paintings.

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