Caught in the Act

Arthur Griffin's Lens on Fenway

By Jared Bowen

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May 24, 2012

Hear more about the Griffin Museum on Greater Boston

WINCHESTER — Perhaps the best view of the Red Sox these days may be at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester. Small but industrious, the museum honors Red Sox Nation in its latest show.
 
It’s a Fenway fest at the museum. The park you love, the moments you know and the ones you will now never be able to forget (think nuns). The Griffin celebrates Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary with a veritable scrapbook.
 
Paula Tognarelli is the executive director of the Griffin Museum. She said they’ve been anticipating Fenway’s anniversary for some time.
 
“We’ve been planning this for 2 years. This has been so much fun. We have gone out to a plethora of organizations looking for photographs,” she said.
 
There are stars and stripes, divine intervention and Fenway itself as the supermodel. It’s a photographic party for the park, according to Tognarelli.
 
“What it does do is focus on the building itself. People who inhabited the space, people who have visited the space, and I believe it communicates the spirit of a Boston icon,” she said.
 

Fenway’s 100th anniversary as a ballpark coincides with the Griffin’s 20th. It was founded by the late photographer Arthur Griffin, a local legend who snapped pictures from 1929 until his death in 2001 at age 97, said his nephew Peter Griffin, president of Griffin Museum of Photography's board of trustees.
 
“He worked in an era where there were not a lot of photographers. So he had this wide range of opportunities to shoot for different publications. He shot for Life, Fortune, Saturday Evening Post,” Griffin said.
 
Ted Williams
Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams (Photo: Arthur Griffin)
Arthur Griffin also shot a lot of images for The Boston Globe, where he was among the first to photograph a Red Sox rookie, a very youthful Ted Williams.
 
“Here’s this handsome 20-year-old kid, splendid sprinter. Tall, skinny, and the images were so good one was actually used on the cover of Sports Illustrated the time of Ted’s death in 2002. And he remained friends with Ted all those years. When my uncle was in his 90s and Ted was approaching 80, Ted would still be referred to as the kid,” Griffin said.
 
Today the museum balances its preservation of Griffin’s abundant legacy, some 50,000 images, with its mission of elevating photography’s relevance.
        
“I don’t think the world is aware of how much they’re influenced by the photograph as well,” said Tognarelli. “We’re constantly bombarded by imagery; we haven’t learned to interpret that imagery and that’s what our mission is here at the museum.”
 
Griffin added, “We’re able to identify up-and-coming photographers who may not be ready for major exhibitions in some of the great museums, but are so incredibly talented that in a few years, you’ll see them in those exhibitions.”
 
The Griffin is a fantastic museum now featuring artists the world over. But it’s a hidden gem in need of more exposure.

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About the Author
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 

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