Something Old, Something New In Kolster’s Photographs, on Display through Dec. 15

Michael Kolster explains his exhibit

Photographs by artist Michael Kolster are on display through Dec. 15 in the College of Southern Maryland’s Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery located in the Fine Arts Center on the La Plata Campus.

Kolster, an associate professor of art at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, shared insight to his work during a gallery talk with students on Nov. 14 where he said that this project was “one of the most satisfying projects” he has worked on.

The collection began when he started photographing the Androscoggin River outside of his new home and thought it beautiful. After speaking with long-time residents regarding his impression of the river, he realized they did not share his sentiments on its appeal, and it was at this time that he conducted research to learn more about its history, which led to the scope of the collection.

 Forty years prior to the present day, the river was contaminated from a nearby paper factory, covered by foam with no signs of life, not even microorganisms. It was at this time that the Clean Water Act was passed and the river began its transformation into its current, rejuvenated state.

Kolster decided to use a wet-plate collodion process, one of photography’s earliest, to document his work at the river. This process included bringing with him to the river a camera, glass plate holders, a dark box, chemistry, a silver nitrate bath and 15 gallons of water each time he wanted to produce photographs. Although the process can be long and arduous, Kolster loves what can be produced from it and finds the time invested to be well worth the end result.

The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday. For information visit