A visual history fundraiser like no other Aug. 20

Wed, 08/09/2023 - 8:15am

Story Location:
185 Townsend Avenue
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
United States

    There really could not be a better fundraising idea for a historical society than that of the upcoming event for Boothbay Region Historical Society. On Sunday, Aug. 20 at Harbor Theater, world renowned freelance photojournalist/filmmaker Bob Krist will present six of his mini-documentaries that feature coastal Maine. Krist has invited photographer Ben Williamson who from 2012 to 2022 he was Down East magazine’s staff photographer, photo brand coordinator and “adventure leader.”

    Over the course of his career, Krist traveled to 150 countries over seven continents recording facets of their history – places of significance and the people who live there. Krist worked extensively for National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian and Islands. And most recently he has been working for Wondrium, a.k.a. The Teaching Company, and formerly known as The Great Courses. Wondrium wanted to include more documentary coverage as well as lecture courses. Krist had done a couple as part of his previous course for them, “Video Storytelling for Still Photographers.”

    “They wanted to include more documentary coverage as well as lecture courses and asked me if I wanted to pitch a travel documentary show,” Krist said. “I said I’d like to go back to some of my favorite places and do ‘mini-docs’ about some of the funky things, the off the beaten track places, not those traditional places where visitors typically visited. I did a pilot for them about a place in the Azore Islands and they agreed to a year’s worth of content. Four of the locations I pitched (included) central Mexico, coastal Maine, and I always wanted to do a piece on Carnivale in Venice. The show name became ‘Off the Beaten Path.’”

    The fundraiser came about through a chance meeting last September on Monhegan Island between Robert and Robin Jordan and Krist who was filming a segment. “I saw a couple wearing Boothbay Region Historical Society hats. As it turned out, Robert is one of the projectionists at Harbor Theater.” Krist began telling them what he was doing for Wondrium. He told them if the Historical Society ever wanted to do a fundraiser, he’d like to help. Turns out, the Jordans are Wondrium subscribers. They watched the films and the fundraiser has resulted. 

    In 2012, Williamson was a bartender at the Sea Dog bar in Topsham where he shared some of his photography with friends and customers, then on social media, which led to requests for prints of his photos. Two years later, that exposure led to a job offer from Down East magazine.

    Krist follows lots of photographers, including a lot of younger photographers and Williamson’s work caught his eye a while ago.

    He recalled, “Not long after my wife Peggy and I first moved to Maine I was driving down a road in Harpswell near Mackerel Cove with a friend of mine, retired war photographer Richard Ellis (a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and founder of the first digital photo news agency that became Getty Images News Photos in 1999). I see this guy with six photographers around him and I bet Richard it was a Down East workshop and we should introduce ourselves. Sure enough it was Ben. The weather was turning cloudy so, disappointed in the weather, we said we were going down to the bar we’d seen.

    “Ben said the clouds were ‘something-something clouds’ and predicted that by the end of the day the light was going to be shining upward. We said sure, sure … but at the bar when we saw the sun we quickly finished our beers and ran out with our cameras,” Krist continued. “So, it turns out that not only does Ben have a great eye, he had meteorological training so he is one of the experts in predicting and knowing the weather conditions.”

    After Krist was commissioned to do his series, he contacted Williamson, based in Bath, for an interview about some of his favorite places in Maine. “He was down with it,” said Krist. “I’ve long said that if you want to know what’s going on in a place, talk to a travel photographer who covered the area for a magazine because it’s his or her job to dig and find all of the most interesting sights, the most interesting people. They know, so I followed my own advice. He’s super talented and I wish I had his eye.”

    The rest of the mini documentaries screening at the fundraiser are “Maine – Collecting Americana” tells the story behind Fawcett’s Art & Antiques Toy Museum on Route 1 in Waldoboro. Collector and retired art professor at the University of Connecticut John Fawcett opened the museum in the spring of 1987. “Maine – The World’s Largest Rotating Globe” – “Eartha,” constructed in 1998; the idea for the design was from a man watching his grandkids riding a Tilt-a Whirl at a county fair. “The indigenous Wild Blueberry” takes you to Wild Blueberry Land in Columbia Falls where the audience will meet wild blueberry farmers Del and Marie Emerson. Low bush are indigenous to Maine and their large blueberry shaped shop/bakery is filled with blueberry delights. “Riding the Revived Railroads” will take the audience to Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway in Alna; “Oystering on the Damariscotta River,” a piece on the Casco Bay mailboat captain, and Monhegan Island.

    Wondrium has given permission to show these Bob Krist mini-documentaries from the “Off the Beaten Path” series for this one occasion. If you miss the Aug. 20 event, and your chance to support BR Historical Society, you just need to subscribe to Wondrium. 

    Tickets for this Historical Society fundraiser are $30 per person. Get yours at https://boothbaycinema.org/bobkristevent, or the Historical Society at 72 Oak St. 

    Krist’s most recent book, “Old Souls and Timeless Places,” featuring some of Krist’s B&W photographs and some of Williamson’s photos will be for sale during the 5:30 p.m. welcome reception for Krist and Williamson, complete with wine and hors d’oeuvres. Everyone will be asked to take their seats at 6:15 for an introduction by Krist about the mini-documentaries that will run about 80 minutes to be followed by a Q&A.

    On behalf of the Historical Society, Trustee Kay Wilder said this event would not be possible without the sponsorship of The First, Griffin & Harris, Dunton’s Doghouse, Friends of the Society, Pinkham’s Gourmet Market, and Eventide Specialties.

    Harbor Theater is at 185 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor.