There’s certainly no shortage of places to see Chesapeake Bay-inspired art in our region, from permanent exhibitions at museums and galleries—the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, and the At Altitude Gallery, in Cape Charles—to annual plein air painting festivals and multi-story murals in Annapolis, Montross, and more.
Adding to the cultural offerings, Annapolis Maritime Museum is currently hosting a special temporary exhibit that’s a true can’t-miss. The photographic exhibit Water’s Edge opened Jan. 28 and runs through March 19. The show features 54 works taken by Lisa Masson, an Annapolis-based professional photographer who’s been capturing images inspired by living on and sailing on the Chesapeake Bay since 1986. Water’s Edge spans roughly 20 years of her work, focusing on some of her most powerful scenes capturing a deeply rooted love for the Bay, boating, and culture.
“I love being on the water, where there is so much beauty everywhere just waiting to be captured,” Masson told Chesapeake Bay Magazine. “This exhibit is a collection of images that I hope will connect viewers to the feeling of being near the coast and on the water.”
The black-framed photos that fill the white walls of the museum’s recently-renovated gallery run the gamut, from a wide assortment of sailboats underway— the Pride of Baltimore passing by Thomas Point Light in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race—to waterside landscapes in Havre de Grace and even a few lobster floats in Maine. There’s also a section featuring log canoes racing on the Chesapeake Bay, inspired by a winter lecture at the museum by Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s chief curator, Pete Lesher.
“After hosting Pete, we saw a unique opportunity to connect and collaborate with Lisa to host her imagery highlighting log canoes and Bayscapes,” said Caitlin Swaim, AMM’s curator. “This combination of educational programming and public exhibitions supports and promotes our mission.”
In addition to Masson’s exhibit, the museum offers a narrated educational video in the gallery that describes the history of the Chesapeake Bay, focusing on the role of “the most productive protein provider on the planet” (the oyster), and the human impacts on its past, present, and future health. Other exhibits take visitors through the history and science of the Chesapeake Bay oyster industry, with a focus on the McNasby Oyster Company.
“I originally came to familiarize myself with the history of oystering on the Chesapeake, and especially the role of African Americans in that history,” said Jeannette Watson, who visited the museum earlier this month with her husband. Watson is the communications coordinator at Minorities in Aquaculture. “But it was also great to see so many photos that capture the beauty of the Bay and remind us of how important it is to keep it healthy today.”
“I enjoyed the whole museum and gallery, especially because my restaurant’s food focuses on fresh, local seafood, but especially the video that played in the gallery because it was so honest while also being hopeful,” said Derek Watson. He is the executive chef at Nama Ko, a Japanese restaurant and craft cocktail bar in D.C.
All of Masson’s works in the exhibit are for sale, as is her coffee table book Annapolis Photographic Portrait.