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Matinee: Rose Marasco Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

9 July 2016

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 143rd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Rose Marasco, 2016 Sarah Orne Jewett Awardee.

The Sarah Orne Jewett Award is given to a Maine woman who "exhibits the attributes of the women in Jewett's works of fiction: true grit, independence, courage, humor and discipline." This year it was bestowed on photographer and educator Rose Marasco.

Marasco is a Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Southern Maine where she developed the photography program and taught for 35 years. She has also taught at the Maine College of Art. And she created the photography department, designing its facilities and devising the curriculum, at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, N.Y.

Her photographs are in the collections of the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Museum of American History at Smithsonian Institution, the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, the Photography Collection at The New York Public Library and Maine's Portland Museum of Art.

In describing her work, the Portland museum noted:

Throughout her career, Marasco has remained uninterested in genres such as documentary, landscape, and portraiture. Instead, she has consistently mined concepts of framing, point of view and orientation to make images with a complex relationship to the everyday image of the world.

She gives a glimpse of her working method in the following audio clip in which she tells the story of an Easter dinner at an elderly Italian woman's home (who did not speak English) that led to photographing the Saint Rosalie Feast:

Mrs. Massa's House isn't include on her Web site but there is plenty of other projects there to enjoy. We particularly enjoyed Diaries and The Maine Grange with its black and white exteriors and color interiors.

Born in 1948, Marasco grew up in Utica, N.Y. and attended Syracuse University. But her early years were not easy ones. "By following the only path that gave me solace," she explains, "first through drawing and then photography, I created a trail I continue on today."

One of those rare reversal of fortunes happened to her when she was 24 after an exhibition of her photographs in Utica. We'll let her tell the story. But the short version is simply this: someone took a chance on her.

She uses the occasion of her acceptance speech to recommend, with no little humor, that her audience to take a chance on a young person. She's noticed how much harder it is today for young people to get started. We put our trust in technology these days and not people, she suspects. "However it is people who do things," she reminds us.

And what they do, she (as living proof) didn't have to add, is reward our faith in them.

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