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Former resident Martha Vaughan publishes coffee-table book of photography

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While people often talk about children following in their parents' footsteps, for photographer Martha Vaughan, it is more a case of following in her daughter's footsteps.

Years ago, Mrs Vaughan's husband, George, built a darkroom for their daughter, Barbara, who was taking a photography course in their hometown of Princeton, New Jersey.

When Barbara went away to school, the Vaughans were left with an empty dark room.

“My husband said: so you're an artist, you have a dark room. I'm going to buy you a good camera. The rest is history,” said Mrs Vaughan.

The Vaughans maintained a summer home in Bermuda for over 30 years, but sold it a few years ago.

Since taking over the dark room, Mrs Vaughan has been showing her photography in Bermuda and abroad for many years, but has just released her first collection in the form of a coffee-table book called Of Time and Place.

The book was launched at the Masterworks Museum earlier this month.

“I started taking photographs back in the 1970s,” said Mrs Vaughan. “I took classes with the International Centre of Photography in New York, the Maine Photographic Workshop and I studied with Ansel Adams through the Ansel Adams workshop.”

She joined with several other photographers in her area and formed a kind of co-operative photography group.

“One of the girls didn't mind schlepping our work in portfolios to all the galleries,” Mrs Vaughan said. “We had shows at the New Jersey State Museum and other places.

“I entered lots of competitions. I got hooked. In the meantime, my husband was travelling a lot. My husband is a tennis racket designer and I got to go with him on his trips all over the world.”

She's taken photos everywhere from Russia to Mexico to Cuba, Bermuda and Morocco, among many other places.

“I mainly look for things like light, angles and colour,” she said. “I am not such a people person and often feel shy about approaching people to take their picture.

“That said, I think my favourite pictures in the book are the ones that have people in them.

“About three years ago, I thought: I have this studio downstairs filled with boxes of slides.

“In the last seven or eight years I have been digital. I had so many images so I thought, okay, I am going to do a book. I was getting tired of shows as you have to print everything, mat it and frame it.”

It took her two years to edit Of Time and Place.

“I finally got it together,” she said. “I had a very good friend, Jill Guthrie, who had just retired from Princeton University as the editor of the University Art Museum, one of the biggest college art museums in the country. She offered to edit the book. She oversaw the whole project.”

The contents are arranged by different elements of photography such as colour, light and reflection.

“The picture I am most proud of in the book is a picture of a house in Bermuda,” she said.

She took the photos using mostly Nikons. She also keeps a Cannon Sureshot in her purse and has even used her iPhone on occasion.

Her art has been shown in several exhibits in Bermuda including the Artist in the Garden show at Masterworks, the Biennial at the Bermuda National Gallery, shows at the Bermuda Society of Arts and the old Windjammer Gallery.

Mrs Vaughan is already planning her second book which will be more about nature.

So far, Of Time and Place has sold well at signings in Princeton, Florida and Bermuda.

“I will be signing at a bookstore on Martha's Vineyard in August,” she said. “Then I hope I am sold out.”

The book is for sale at the Masterworks Museum for $45.

Photo of architecture in Cuba by Martha Vaughan.
Martha Vaughan at her book signing at Masterworks. Behind her is a blown on version of one of her photographs of Bermuda that is included in her book Of Time and Place.
Photo of Bermuda by Martha Vaughan.
Cover of Of Time and Place a photography collection by Martha Vaughan, a former Bermuda resident.
Vietnam by Martha Vaughan.

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Published May 20, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated May 19, 2014 at 9:01 pm)

Former resident Martha Vaughan publishes coffee-table book of photography

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