Photographer Kosti Ruohomaa captured the spirit of Maine and its people in his work. A program about his career, “Kosti Comes Home,” will be held in Brooksville Sunday. COURTESY OF BROOKSVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Kosti comes home



BROOKSVILLE — During its annual meeting on Sunday, Aug. 25, the Brooksville Historical Society will host a program on the work of famed Rockland photographer Kosti Ruohomaa.

Following the business meeting, Kevin Johnson, photo archivist for the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, will present “Kosti Comes Home” at 7 p.m. at the Brooksville Town House. The Ruohomaa Collection has come home to Maine as the newest addition to the photography archive at the Penobscot Marine Museum. The collection was recently donated to the museum by Black Star of New York, Ruohomaa’s photography agency, and consists of thousands of medium- and large-format negatives, 35-mm negatives and slides, as well as contact sheets and vintage prints.

He was a storyteller with a camera. He captured the spirit and culture of Maine through its people and landscape like few other photographers have ever done. During the age of the photo magazine, Ruohomaa was a rock star in the photography world. His photographs graced the cover of Life Magazine numerous times. Other major magazines, such as Look, National Geographic, and Life, used his photos regularly.

He moved to Dodge Mountain in Rockland, where his family had a blueberry farm, at the age of 13. He discovered his love for photography in the 1930s while working as a cartoonist for Disney. During the 1940s and ’50s, his career blossomed. While he photographed around the world, Maine was his favorite subject, both the people and land. Ruohomaa died in 1961 at the age of 47.

His work has been the subject of exhibits at the Farnsworth and Maine State museums. A biography, “Kosti Ruohomaa: The Photographer Poet,” by Deanna Bonner-Ganter, was published by Downeast Books in 2016 and a portfolio of his work, “Night Train at Wiscasset Station,” by Lew Dietz, came out in 1977.

The Penobscot Marine Museum is currently working to digitize and catalog the Ruohomaa collection. The museum has more than 100,000 images from their various collections that can be viewed on the museum’s website in their online database at  www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org.

All are welcome to the Brooksville meeting. Light refreshments will be served after the program. The Town House is located on Coastal Road.

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