The photography of Larry Vanier
Suggestions to Artful often pour in “over the transom.” Some clue me in to artists and art in places where one would least expect to find them. This one turned out to be a significant and hidden gem. Larry Vanier works at Stateline Sports in West Lebanon, New Hampshire and his photographs are on display in what is now called the “Stateline Bathroom & Gallery.”
I am always game for the quirky. And while a restroom serving as an art gallery may seem funny, the photographs are most definitely serious work. And they are but a representative sample of hundreds of prints stacked in storage next door. Currently on view: Newfoundland. Shot in color, transformed into large-scale black and whites. Stark to the eye but rich in detail and atmosphere. Inviting.
Larry describes photography as his lifelong passion, and there are connections between him and his work and the places he explores. Many are locations he returns to again and again. One is an often-visited stretch of the Mascoma River. The hands-on favorite, however, appears to be the Canadian island of Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy. A visit decades ago enchanted him; he felt as if he had been transported back in time, and the better for it. Among other aspects of island life, he has captured the lives and livelihoods of small-town fishermen who take their boats out each morning and bring them home filled with lobster. Over the years, some things have changed. Aquaculture, or fish farms, are gaining ground in the island’s economy.
Asked what has drawn him back to Grand Manan year after year, he put it like this:
"The Island" is beautiful and unspoiled . . . It is also full of the most wonderful and friendly people I have ever met. I have watched parts of it slowly disappear over the years.
My ashes will be heading there when I'm gone.”
(Photos courtesy of the artist. Thank you also to John Douglas.)
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Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.