“This Is What Artists Look Like”

Portraits of 33 local artists & their work, Friday, Oct. 23 – Thursday Dec. 24, 2015.

Opening Reception – Art ‘Round Town, Friday, Nov. 6, 5-8pm

“Discover Portsmouth is the ideal venue for Jay Goldsmith’s exhibit that employs vintage techniques.
The historic 1813-era Academy Building once housed the studio of Samuel P. Long.
In 1839 Long produced the city’s first photographs on this very spot. It all started here.”
– Richard Candee, architectural historian

Jay Goldsmith Self PortraitPhotographer Jay Goldsmith could not have worked harder. In an age of instant digital photography and high-speed inkjet printers, he missed his old darkroom. Goldsmith’s latest exhibit, “This is What Artists Look Like,” is an homage to the days of crisp black and white images and hand-made prints. The free exhibit features unique portraits of more than 30 Seacoast artists, and runs from October 23 to December 24, 2015, at Discover Portsmouth.

A wedding and family portrait photographer by trade, Goldsmith married two rare techniques to create this latest fine art show. He started with an 1873 invention known as the platinum-palladium process. In a dimly lit room, the photographer brushed the chemical emulsion onto thin translucent sheets of Japanese paper. The rare “gampi paper’ is hand-made from the inner bark of the gampi bush, which is not cultivated, and must be obtained in the wild.

“It was expensive, frustrating, challenging, often irksome, and time consuming,” Goldsmith says. But the results, he notes proudly, are beautiful and deeply rewarding images of Seacoast painters and sculptors.

Experimenting over many months, Goldsmith photographed 33 local artists including Tim Beavis, Stan Moeller, Wendy Turner, Christopher Gowell, Gordon Carlisle, and Barbara Adams.

A former high school instructor, Goldsmith cannot resist a teachable moment as he explains his process. The platinum-palladium images are “contact prints,” he points out. In other words, the final print is the same size as the negative. Each negative was placed on the chemically-coated light-sensitive paper and exposed to a very bright mercury vapor lamp. The developed prints were then bathed in benign chemicals and rinsed in water. The metals that remained trapped in the fibers of the special Japanese paper became the images we see.

In three decades as a commercial photographer with partner Julia Russell, Goldsmith has won several awards for his natural-light family and children’s portraits. His portraiture relies to a great extent on a sense of place. “This is What Artists Look Like” comes from that same environmental tradition. The exhibit will also include two creative works by each of the artists depicted.

Exhibit chair and historian Richard Candee points out that Discover Portsmouth is the ideal venue for Jay Goldsmith’s exhibit that employs vintage techniques. The historic 1813-era Academy Building once housed the studio of Samuel P. Long. In 1839 Long produced the city’s first photographs on this very spot. “It all started here,” Candee says.

A special Opening Reception will be held Friday, November 6, from 5- 8 pm during Art ‘Round Town. A second exhibit, “It’s Pastel” juried by the Pastel Society of New Hampshire will also be on display and runs through November 28.

Discover Portsmouth is a cultural gateway that houses a welcome center/clearinghouse for residents and visitors interested in the city’s history, arts and culture; two museums (including the John Paul Jones House) of exhibitions and programs devoted to Portsmouth history; and a shop of unique Portsmouth gifts and books, including those offered by its in-house publishing division. Historic tours, including of the Black Heritage Trail, originate from the center. A gathering place for Portsmouth nonprofits, it is a popular location for event rentals. Discover Portsmouth, located at 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH, is open seasonally until December 24, 2015, and daily from 10 am-5 pm For more information, call 603-436-8433, email info@portsmouthhistory.org or follow us on Facebook.

Discover Portsmouth

10 Middle St., in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire
phone 603-436-8433