Boats

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Rebecca
“On the Island of Martha's Vineyard, in the port town of Vineyard Haven, is a small boatyard called the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway, named for its owners Ross Gannon and Nathaniel Benjamin. For nearly the last 25 years, Ross and Nat have built wooden sloops, ketches and yawls, using tools and techniques from early in this century. Their shop is a tall, cluttered building standing at the very head of Vineyard Haven Harbor, hard by the ferry landing, and an anchorage for the largest collection of wooden gaff-rigged sailboats anywhere along the southern New England coast. Beginning in 1998, Ross and Nat took on the project of a lifetime; to build a sixty-foot wooden schooner of Nat's design, the biggest boat to be built on the Island in the 20th century.”
Tom Dunlop, from the introduction to Schooner

I spent four years recording form and detail as the schooner took shape: the materials, tools and craftsmanship, the personalities of the boatbuilders, and the feel of the workshop. I shot thousands of images on color transparency film using my Pentax 6x7, almost exclusively with available light. I travelled to Port Townsend, Washington, to document the construction of the masts; to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to photograph the sails being made; and to Wickford, Rhode island, to visit the workshop of the rigger. The story of the schooner begins with a dream and a handful of drawings, and ends with her first sail in Vineyard Sound.

From the get-go, I envisioned a coffee table book as the end product, and invited my colleague Tom Dunlop to write the story of Rebecca. Thanks to Jan Pogue and the late John Walter of Vineyard Stories, a beautiful book design by my partner Sue Dawson, and Tom’s eloquently written story, the book Schooner was published nearly a decade after Rebecca’s launch.  

Clients hire Alison for her unique photographic vision – strong graphics, vivid colors, simple bold compositions, and a beautiful use of available light. She works hard to capture her subjects in ideal light, under the best weather conditions available to her. She also does her research, often getting access to areas that aren't easily found, which brings unusual perspectives on her subjects.

We're happy to discuss all commissions – especially those where clients are hiring Alison to shoot with her own instinctive style. Alison retains all rights to her photos, sometimes selling them as fine art prints in our gallery.

For more information, please email Alison, or call us at the studio 508-693-4429.