Stephen Gorman: Grizzlies And a Camera


Submitted a year ago
Created by
Susan B. Apel

The photography of Norwich VT's Stephen Gorman is everywhere, but you do not need to travel far to see it. His work is on view throughout 2017 at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa in honor of Canada's 150th anniversary. He is planning an upcoming exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. But closer to homeGorman, and his photographs, will be at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for a special, semi-private show on Thursday, June 22. All are welcome.

Luminosity, Canadian Arctic

Gorman is an artist who holds a Master's degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University. He is also an explorer, traveling for days, weeks, or even months into remote areas to capture and tell stories about landscapes, endangered wildlife, and indigenous people. If a 350-mile canoe trip in arctic Alaska, complete with 23 (!) grizzly bear encounters, means suffering for your art, well . . . Stephen has been there and done that.

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I first came across one of Gorman's photographs while taking refuge and walking the halls of DHMC during a bitter cold Sunday in March. Laundry Day in Saattut, Greenland (featured photo above) is irresistible for its color and its starkly beautiful setting. Probably because one of my childhood tasks was to hang and then gather laundry from the backyard clotheslines, I have an idiosyncratic fervor for images of clothes drying outdoors. Laundry, it seems, is a universal and shared human experience that cuts across cultures. Saattut is a small Inuit village of 200 people and 500 sled dogs. It is among the many remote hunting communities that may be forced to evacuate due to threats to life and livelihood caused by the changing climate. The laundry--and those for whom it is a symbol of everyday living--may not be able to remain here for long.

The Dory, Labrador (note the iceberg in the background)

In his own words, Gorman says that his mission " . . . is to bring back the stories of still intact ecosystems and of peoples who have not lost the essence of their traditional cultures, for the one cannot exist without the other. Through these stories we can learn once again to live wisely, adapting to the inevitable change while preserving the ecosystems and the local traditions that are so vital to the health of the planet."

The Dartmouth Institute and the D-H Arts Program at DHMC are displaying over 30 of Gorman's photographs on the 5th floor of the Williamson Translational Research Building. The reception on June 22 at 5:30 p.m. will feature a talk with Stephen Gorman and a viewing of the photos. There is no admission charge. 

Stephen Gorman is the author of many books, including one commissioned by the Inuit people of Nunavik entitled Arctic Visions--Encounters at the Top of the World, for which he won the 2011 Benjamin Franklin Award. He has worked with numerous periodicals and organizations such as National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Audubon, and the Discovery Channel.  He is a frequent guest on National Public Radio. Examples of  his work--including photos of the grizzly bears--can be found on his website.

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I write about the arts and other interesting things in the Upper Valley. Please sign up to receive an email each time I post something new by clicking here.  To view my profile page or to read previous posts, please click here.

Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge




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