Merriam-Webster defines winter as “the season between autumn and spring comprising in the northern hemisphere usually the months of December, January, and February or as reckoned astronomically extending from the December solstice to the March equinox.” This exhibit encompasses both definitions. While almost all the selected photographs fall within the undisputedly “winter” months, several images from March have also been included with subject matter being the key determinant. Repurposing and paraphrasing Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s classic nondefinition of hard-core pornography: “I shall not attempt to further define winter, but I know it when I see it.”
The intention of this special exhibition is not to provide a composite portrait of a typical winter on Fishers Island, but rather to celebrate and accentuate the exceptional. These photographs peel back very familiar vistas—structures, landscapes, beachscapes, and seascapes—revealing a world that has been transformed, magically and sometimes wretchedly, by snow and ice. They collectively offer a visual reminder that the world we think we know is not set in stone, is anything but static, and can change before our eyes.
Looking west over Fort Wright in winter. Circa 1913. Photo by E.W. Henderson. Museum Collection
Government boat in ice off Silver Eel Cove. March 5, 1934. Photo by Adelard T. LeGere. Museum Collection
Ice from Munnatawket Beach out to North Dumpling and beyond. March 1934. Photgrapher unknown. Museum Collection
Skiing and sledding on HHC’s second hole. 1934. Photographer unknown. Museum Collection
Fire House at night decorated for Christmas. December 1950. Photographer unknown. Museum Collection
High shot of Silver Eel Cove and adjacent Fishers Island Sound covered in ice. February 1977. Photo by Charlie Morgan. Museum Collection
The Museum would like to thank the co-sponsors of this special exhibition: Altus Partners, Inc., a risk management and insurance brokerage firm founded by Charlie Wilmerding in 1997, and the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. Your continuing support is much appreciated. Special thanks to those who provided photographs for inclusion. Some were chosen, some were not, but all were appreciated. We thank the following individuals who responded to our call for images: Jane T. Ahrens, Arthur Anthony, Marlin Bloethe, Adrien Broom, Heather F. Burnham, Jane Crary, Chris Dollar, Mere Doyen, Louisa Evans, Linda Farwell, Claudia and Maarten van Hengel, Mecky Kuijpers, Marisela La Grave, Todd McCormack, Darius Montvila, John Morgan, Mary P. Murphy, Nora Neus, Aleksandra Norton, Alex and Dave Pollack, Pierce Rafferty, Aaron Rice, Jim Reid, Scott Reid, Lily Starbuck, Kate Stevens, Art Walsh, and John Wilton. (Please forgive any inadvertent omissions.) Kit Briggs generously donated his time to help mount the exhibition. There would be no show without all of your contributions!
Annual exhibition sponsored by ALTUS Partners & CHUBB
In the full sweep of Fishers Island’s history, there is no artist more synonymous, more closely associated with Fishers Island than Charles B. “Charlie” Ferguson. The main show features images from two of Charlie's sketchbooks which functioned as illustrated diaries that were filled with daily activities, nature observations, personal notes, and lots of art—drawings, sketches, and watercolors—in various states of completion.