Brenton Hamilton – Rockport, Maine

Untitled, Calotype paper negative 2013 approx 10x8 inches

Untitled, Calotype paper negative 2013 approx 10×8 inches

Briefly describe the work you do.

I work with photography – especially the historical processes from the 19th century. The cyanotype, platinum, French paper calotype especially.

At what point I your life did you want to become an artist?

At some point in undergraduate school the idea sized me and woulden’t let go……

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I am from Maine – and spent a lot of childhood on a small island with my parents. The solitude and quiet, the water and the horizon were all early influences that I realized later on….

What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?

I’m a revisionist…..I reassemble images via collage and create new associations and new possible stories are posed. My interest in historical process is an embrace of the beauty of marks and sometimes accidents; both accidental marks and odd wonder. I coat light sensitive materials onto fine watercolor papers. I’m a storyteller, spinning yarns.



We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?

I seem to work in cycles of rest and then great intensity. New possibilities really engage me – the studio is an exciting place, a certain balance of risk and failure and astonishment.

What artists living or non-living influence your work? 

Wm. Talbot, Man Ray, F. Picabia, Alison Rossiter, Anselm Keifer

When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in?

I collect antique fragments, I’m a foil fencer, Speed walking


HeadShot_Hamilton_640pxRaised in Maine, Brenton Hamilton is an educator and working studio artist living in Rockport. Hamilton’s earliest years were growing up on the Maine coast on Clapboard island near Falmouth, Maine. Brenton attended the University of Maine and Maine Photographic Workshops completing studies in 1985 and later earned a baccalaureate degree from LaGrange College in Design, Magna Cum Laude in 1990 and an MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art & Design in 1992.

Hamilton has lead classes at Maine Media Workshops for 19 years and his specialty areas include the history of photography, B&W darkroom craft and historic processes. Brenton’s lectures widely both in Maine and nationally about contemporary issues in photography, it’s history and other subject area interests within the medium and contemporary trends. He is also on the adjunct faculty at the International Center of Photography in New York City and teaches many historic process courses at The Center of Alternative Processes also in New York. Brenton is a contributing writer and president of Obscura founded in 2009. A non profit organization devoted to the progress of youth education in photography and books.

His work is represented at TILT Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona and in Maine at Susan Maasch Fine Art Portland, Maine. Hamilton’s photographs are held in permanent collections at the Farnsworth Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art and many significant private collections nationally. His first monograph was published by Obscura Press in 2010: The Blue Poet Dreams.

In the Studio

In the Studio

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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