"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Photographs of the Elizabeth Bishop House: an exhibit

During my tenure as steward of the Elizabeth Bishop House (2004-2015), many wonderful photographers spent time exploring the space-time of that dear old place. Two of these were Halifax photographers Roxanne Smith and Kathleen Flanagan. They took quite different approaches to this subject and some of their intriguing and beautiful work will be exhibited in Halifax at ViewPoint Gallery in July. I am thrilled about this exhibition and urge you to go see it if you live in Halifax or happen to visit the city during that month. Bishop herself was interested in photography – an interest she came by honestly, because her maternal family took to picture-taking early on. Indeed, several Bishop scholars have explored her connection to this old technology and artform. Most recently U.K. scholar Sophie Baldock was in touch to tell me that she is writing an essay about the exchange of photographs in the letters between Bishop and Robert Lowell. I look forward to reading Sophie’s take on thisexchange. In the Bulmer family collection at Acadia University Archives, there are a handful of photos that Bishop sent to her aunt and cousin over the years. Bishop often had her portrait done by professional photographers, something that started in her childhood at the instigation of her mother and grandparents. Well, one can imagine that Bishop would be interested in this upcoming exhibit, exploring her grandparents’ home, where so much happened that would affect the rest of her life. Here is the poster Roxanne sent about this exhibit.

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