Jackson Gallery Presents Photography by James Blair, Now thru 8/16

Jackson Gallery Presents Photography by James Blair, Now thru 8/16

James Blair worked as a staff photographer for the National Geographic Magazine for thirty years. Forty-five articles carried his byline and more than 2000 of his photos have appeared within its covers.

After graduating from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1954, Blair spent two years as a lieutenant (j.g.) in the Navy, part of that time assisting refugees from North Vietnam in Operation Passage to Freedom. He joined WIIC-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1958 as a reporter and film photographer.

As a freelance photographer, Blair had commissions from the U.S. Information Agency, Time, Life, and National Geographic magazines. He also put together a one-man show at Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, and co-authored Listen With the Eye, a book of photographs and poems, with Samuel Hazo. Success with National Geographic assignments brought him to the staff of the magazine in 1962.

"My time photographing with the National Geographic opened my eyes to the beauty of the natural world and the wonder of its many inhabitants. It also brought into stark relief the pain and cruelty we humans too often experience. There have been times at which I questioned mankind's path and Mother Nature's response. From war to global warming, I have seen through my lens the seeds of our social and political conflicts today."

"Each of these photographs is but a single instant from long ago that was recorded on film and is now a part of the history of our time. I believe that the past is truly prologue to the future and for that reason I have selected these particular photographs as a warning of the problems that we, and our children, will sooner rather than later face." Blair goes on to add, "Yet there is always hope, even amidst great pain."

Since retiring from the National Geographic Society in 1994, Blair continues to photograph and teach. He has had assignments from GEO (Germany), Vermont Life, and Wooden Boat magazines. His book, Wooden Fences, was published by Taunton Press in 1997. He has also shot for corporate annual reports, most recently for A.K. Steel Corp. In 1998 he was a guest lecturer aboard the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2 on the occasion of her 30th anniversary. Blair resides in Middlebury, Vermont for part of the year and enjoys sharing stories of his life and travels.

BEING THERE opens at the Jackson Gallery at Town Hall Theater today, July 11 from 5 pm to 7 pm, and runs until August 16 during gallery hours, noon to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday, and for an hour before each THT performance. Contact the Jackson Gallery at (802) 382-9222 or email jacksongallery@townhalltheater.org.

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