Work of Professional Mariner photographer included in Smithsonian maritime exhibition

Chief Engineer Irly Picou aboard the anchor handler Harvey War Horse while moving an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The photo by Brian Gauvin is part of a new Smithsonian exhibit.

Two photographs by Brian Gauvin, a Louisiana-based photojournalist and longtime contributor to Professional Mariner, have been selected for inclusion in a new exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The exhibition, which opened May 22, is called “On the Water: Stories from Maritime America†and spans more than 300 years of American maritime history from 19th century whaling ships to modern container vessels. It includes the Smithsonian’s renowned National Watercraft Collection of rigged ship models. The 8,000-square-foot multimedia exhibition will bring sights, sounds, and stories from the ocean, inland rivers and coastal communities.

Gauvin said that his work came to the attention of the Smithsonian through his photos in Professional Mariner.

“They telephoned me and said that while they were doing research for the show ‘On the Water,’ they ran across my work in the magazine,†Gauvin said. “They asked me to submit a selection of photographs depicting mariners working out on the water. I sent them a selection that included crews working on harbor tugs, river towboats, and on oilfield supply vessels and they have selected two.â€

Gauvin, who is primarily a self-taught photographer, was born in 1946 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and lived in Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, before moving to New Orleans 12 years ago.

His work has focused on the commercial maritime industry, including the North American fishing industry. “Gone Fishing,†published by Sono Nis Press in 1995, features his black-and-white work depicting the commercial fishing industry in British Columbia. He has also contributed work to other books and magazines focusing on tugs and workboats as well as to travel guides.

Throughout his career his work has been exhibited in galleries including the Hues Gallery in Prince Ruppert, the Vancouver Maritime Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and BC Space in Laguna Beach, Calif. Seven of Gauvin’s Hurricane Katrina photographs will also appear in a comprehensive exhibit on the disaster at the Louisana State Museum and reside in its permanent collection.

John Snyder

By Professional Mariner Staff