Dr. John W. Robertson was an active photographer from the 1930s to the 1970s, taking pictures of anyone and everything on the Eastern Shore. In 1996, Miriam Riggs Ennis rediscovered an entire collection of Dr. Robertson’s photographs for purchase at a garage sale. Feeling that not only should these pictures be kept together, but also be well taken care of, she organized and donated them to the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society. There are nearly 5,000 photographs total, and though they have been loosely divided into sections and briefly described, they had never been digitally scanned. Until now.
Over the course of three scanning sessions and after about 50 hours of research, the Maritime Committee at Ker Place went through all of the maritime photos, scanning the best copies. Then, with the assistance of the ESVHS staff, they picked out the best 24 to showcase as part of the Ker Art and Maritime Exhibit festival. The exhibit, …On the Water: Through the Lens of Dr. John W. Robertson focuses on these photographs that reveal the beauty and culture of the Eastern shore. Dr. Robertson demonstrates that you didn’t need color to showcase the wonderful uniqueness that is the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Additionally, the staff is asking the Eastern Shore community for help identifying the people in Dr. Robertson’s collection. A collage of 19 photographs is available in the visitor center for guests to view. Know someone in a photograph? Please let is know by writing it on a sticky note and leaving on the picture. Or contact the docent on duty with comments or questions.
…On the Water: Through the Lens of Dr. John W. Robertson is truly a “shore made” exhibit. Come view this collection at Ker Place, open to the public till December 2015.
Find a favorite photo? Order a print to keep it forever! Unmatted prints are for sale by order and will be ready for a Christmas time delivery. Matted Prints are also for sale and available for immediate pick up. Please visit Ker Place or call 757-787-8012 for details. All proceeds will benefit in the preservation of the Dr. Robertson photograph collection.