Peter E. Randall
Forty-five Years of Photography, a Personal Retrospective
September 30 - October 30, 2009
Place: Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, 136 State Street, Portsmouth NH
Opening Reception: October 2, 5-8 p.m., Levy Gallery, 136 State Street
Lecture: October 29, 6 p.m., Portsmouth Public Library
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday noon-4pm; closed Monday & Tuesday.
Peter Randall began his career in photography at the University of New Hampshire where he studied with legendary teacher Richard Merritt. In the fall of 1963 he was named staff photographer at the Manchester Free Press and the following June he became editor and photographer for the Hampton Union. He photographed and wrote several stories for New Hampshire Profiles and in 1966 was hired by the magazine and four years later was appointed editor, a position he held until 1976.
A native of the New Hampshire seacoast, Randall used his years at Profiles to hone his photographic skills and learn about the state from Seabrook to Pittsburgh. With that knowledge of the state, he produced New Hampshire Four Seasons, the first full color book of New Hampshire photographs, published in 1979 by Down East Books. The collaboration with Pete Ballou of Down East in the following four years led to books on the Isles of Shoals, Portsmouth, Newburyport, and Salem and Marblehead.
A friendship with United Nations consultant Bill Brownell resulted in a UN assignment to Ghana, West Africa, in 1984 where Randall documented an improved method of smoking fish, a project that was featured at the first meeting of International Decade for Women in 1985. His Ghanaian experience inspired Randall to organize a 2006 collaborative photography project in Ghana with five New Hampshire friends that resulted in a prize winning book, Ghana, An African Portrait Revisited. He has also taken photographic trips to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Guatemala, Spain, and Japan.
Following the success of his first New Hampshire book, Randall has produced two others:New Hampshire, A Living Landscape and New Hampshire Then and Now, and a second book on the Isles of Shoals, Out on the Shoals.
He is a co-founder and first president of the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists and has organized and taught photography programs on the Isles of Shoals for many years. His photographs have been exhibited widely in New Hampshire.
My photographic career might not have occurred without the support and encouragement many years ago of Richard Merritt, the long time photography instructor at the University of New Hampshire. Since 1978, I have had the friendship and support of Gary Samson; we have traveled and photographed together and helped to organize many photographic projects and exhibits.
In preparing for this exhibit, I am indebted to Kate Crichton who helped to organize my images, scanned transparencies, and assisted with the tedious task of framing. Others who have assisted include my long time designer and friend Grace Peirce, who designed the catalogue and my Web site, David Speltz, Deidre Randall, and David Pratt, who framed several large images.
Most of the images in this exhibit were printed on paper provided by Red River Paper Company. Their white archival sheet reproduces color and black and white images equally well. For those who wonder, most of the work was produced on an Epson 3800 printer.
While I have exhibited photographs throughout New Hampshire, most of my work has appeared in books and magazines. Many images appear in this exhibit as prints for the first time. And so it was an honor to be invited by Billie Tooley and the New Hampshire Art Association to have this exhibit. I wish my old friend and supporter Grace Casey was here to see it.
It has been joyful to go back through my files and search for meaningful images to prepare and print. This has not been a solo journey. I met Judy Davis in 1963 and she has been with me on this photographic trail ever since, later joined by our children, Deidre, Davis, and Katelyn, and more recently by grandchildren Sylvia, Kael, Ethan, Ella, and Spencer. For all those days and many nights I was away photographing or otherwise involved with the craft and sometimes missed anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays, I remain appreciative for the constant love and support of my family.