Galleries : Capturing Island history
J.B. Riggs Parker's dramatic black-and-white photographs of Donald LeMar Poole, the late Chilmark lobsterman, crafting wooden lobster pots, will be displayed at the Chilmark Public Library through September 10. An opening reception for the Menemsha Boathouse exhibit will be held at the library on Saturday, August 15, from 3 to 5 pm.
A former corporate attorney, a sailor, and author of the photo-journal, "Up-Island Winter in Chilmark" (1976), Mr. Parker is a Chilmark selectman and resident. He spent the winters of 1980 and 1981 capturing Mr. Poole at work, building and repairing wooden lobsterpots.
"I had known Donald Poole for quite a long time and enjoyed talking with him, and it seemed important to record the fast-dying process of building wooden lobster pots," Mr. Parker says. "It was during the time when wire pots were being made and I wanted to capture the process that preceded them."
Mr. Poole was 80 years old when the photographs were taken. Twenty-seven years later, Mr. Parker developed the 300 photographs, carefully selecting images he wanted to include in the exhibit. "I hope that people have great respect for the work that went into lobstering, the craftsmanship, and the creation of pots," Mr. Parker says.
Mr. Parker continues to uses his photography as a means of historic preservation. "Right now I'm working on a project to capture the historic record of Little Lady, one of the last side-draggers in Menemsha," he says.