Photographers document what makes the South Coast special

Jan 4, 2020

What makes the South Coast special? That’s the question Whaling City Camera Club members tackled with a special themed photo exhibition and contest.

Photographers and the public gathered at the Dartmouth Cultural Center on January 4 for the opening reception of the themed exhibition. As many would discover, no two photographers had quite the same answer.

The dozens of photographs on display showed an array of responses to the prompt, from panoramic nature views, to nautical imagery and even local history.

Sally Erickson, the Whaling City Camera Club’s Chairperson for Shows and Exhibitions, found her answer in an unlikely place: A carousel in Fall River.

The recent Colorado transplant happened to snap a photograph of the Battleship Cove carousel, initially drawn to it due to her granddaughter’s love of the ride.

It was only after she took the photograph did she realize the deep historical connection to Dartmouth: It is one of the last remaining reminders of the Lincoln Park amusement park which once brought visitors from near and afar to Route 6.

“I just thought that is something important, because it’s a part of our history,” Erickson said.

Erickson was in charge of organizing the exhibition. The camera club usually hosts photo challenges and juried shows for its members, but the club decided to take it a step further with community events.

“I thought it’d be fun to get us into the neighborhood and around our communities to show people what we can do,” Erickson said.

Since it was an event open to the community and held at the historic Olde Southworth Library, the theme of the region took center stage too.

Club President Joan-Marie Proulx featured a photograph of Ned’s Point and a photograph she took at the New Bedford Yacht Club after a snowstorm. The photograph, titled “Waiting for Spring,” depicts a row of snow-covered dinghies.

“I’ve never seen them leave the dinghies lined up like that, and I just liked the symmetry of it,” Proulx said.

New club member Janine Simmons had a photo she snapped of a boat washed up on shore in Westport on display as her first entry into a club competition. She had recently picked up photography again, after studying it in college but she ended up pursuing a career in digital imagery instead.

“It was the lighting that captured my attention,” Simmons said. “We’re so lucky here with what we can take photos of.”

Club vice president Jose Soler del Valle showcased four photos during the exhibition. The photos included one he took of a scenic private beach, the famous “marriage tree” at Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven, and photos of boats docked in New Bedford and Woods Hole showing the scientific research and commercial fishing sides of the harbor.

The public was invited to vote on their favorite work for a People’s Choice award. The camera club also used the opportunity to educate visitors about the club and all of its offerings. The club hosts annual meetings, outings, and classes and educational lectures.

“Whether you shoot with a phone or a DSLR, everyone’s welcome,” Proulx said.

The photo exhibition will remain on display until February 2 at the Dartmouth Cultural Center, located at 404 Elm St. For more information about the Whaling City Camera Club, visit