by Kate Shunney
The culminating work of a professional photographer and photography professor hangs in the Ice House gallery in downtown Berkeley Springs now through the first week of November.
It’s not a career retrospective or sampling from photos taken around the world, but a collection of local faces.
“Faces of Berkeley Springs” features the work of Edward Ross, who maintained a house in Morgan County with his wife Sally. Ross died in 2006. He retired as a Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at Loyola College in Baltimore after a long career taking photos in 40 countries over many decades.
Once settled in retirement, Ross decided to embark on a portrait project in Morgan County – seeking out local people to photograph.
The results are on display at the Ice House. His family donated 33 framed and signed photos of local people to the Morgan Arts Council.
Edward and Sally’s son, Ned Ross, said this exhibit is a gift back to the community his parents came to love.
“In their retirement years, they enjoyed the area and the people. My dad continued with photography and decided to do a ‘study’ of people in the area. He enjoyed the challenge of taking a stranger’s photograph and then allowing that photograph to tell a story about the person photographer,” said Ned Ross.
“Now that both my mom and dad have died, our family wanted to give the pictures he took in his Morgan County Study back to the community while supporting the Morgan Arts Council,” Ross said.
In addition to putting the photos on display, the family’s intention is to offer the photographs back to the subject of each photo.
“The person in the picture or the family thereof can have the picture at the end of the exhibit. The Ice House can then determine a ‘donation’ amount (if any) for the purchase of a photograph. All proceeds raised can be used to support the Morgan Arts Council,” Ross said.
“My family and I would be thrilled if someone finds a picture of a loved one, or of themselves, that they forgot about or never knew was taken,” said Ned Ross.
In addition to the photos on exhibit, the Ross Family also donated a collection of 840 photography-related books to the Ice House from their father’s collection in order to establish a Photographic Library with the arts council. That collection has now been catalogued and is now open to the community.
Edward Ross had a distinguished career in photography that began with his study of the art in Stuttgart, Germany. After returning to the United States, Ross continued his education at Johns Hopkins University, earning a Master’s Degree in film aesthetics and production – the first degree of its kind. Ross studied photography with Ansel Adams and Al Weber and produced and filmed multiple documentaries for television. He was a member of the first Digital Imaging and Advanced Digital Imaging classes taught at the Kodak Center for Creative Imaging in Camden, Maine.
Ross’ works from around the world have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. His photos hung in exhibits from 1986 to 1998 around the country and in England and Finland. His works are in the permanent collections at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Museum of Art, Corcoran Museum, Farnsworth Museum, University of Texas at Austin, National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen, Royal Photographic Society in England, Los Angeles Photography Center, Washington Photography Center and more.
“Faces of Berkeley Springs” can be viewed now through November 5, Thursday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Photos are on exhibit in the Carr-Kelly Gallery on the second floor of the Ice House. The Ice House is located at Independence and Mercer Streets in downtown Berkeley Springs.