Jennifer Steen Booher
Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Jennifer received her B.A. in Art History and Asian Studies from Vassar College in 1989. She studied Japanese language and woodblock printing at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan and received her Master's degree in Landscape Architecture and Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia in 1997. Jennifer started practicing landscape architecture on Mount Desert Island in Maine in 1998 and continued to do so up until 2009.
With her fine art and landscape architecture background Jennifer began work on her current Beachcoming series in 2010. She said she “started learning about photography from the internet. Never looked back.”
I live on an island off the coast of Maine, and I beachcomb all year round. Each photo in the Beachcombing series documents the things I found on a particular beach on a particular day: the title of each photo is the name of the beach and the date on which I found those objects. The crisp white background and the precise arrangements contrast with the odd shapes and rough textures, both highlighting the individuality of each object and unifying them all into a larger composition.
Originally I thought of these as abstract beach portraits and used them to articulate my curiosity about the things I was finding, and my growing understanding of the interconnected usage of the tidal zone. The ways humans use the shore, for industry and for pleasure, combined with the non-human ecosystems that meet and intertwine, and the migration of trash within the watershed and from the sea all create layers on the shore that I try to explore in these photos.
Over time I've realized that for other people, a lot of the series' appeal is nostalgia. When I really do capture the texture of a mussel or the color of a sea urchin, it's a tactile reminder for viewers of their own days on the beach and the things they found. These photos, which begin as a record of my own exploration, become a vehicle for their memories.
Mount Desert Island Open, Shaw Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine.
Art Meets Science, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine
Jennifer Steen Booher, Buy Some Damn Art
Smithsonian Magazine, July/August
The Jealous Curator
Handmade Sewing, September
Spider Magazine, May/June
Maine Media Arts, Rockport, Maine. Digital photography.
University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Master’s in Landscape Architecture and Certificate in Historic Preservation
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Vassar College, B.A. Art History and Asian Studies.
Nanzan University , Nagoya, Japan, (Junior Year Abroad program)
Japanese language and woodblock printing.