James M. Hunt
Spirituality and a Sense of Place: The Quabbin Wilderness
The “accidental wilderness” that surrounds the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts is known for its history and natural beauty, but in addition, a more elusive quality, it’s spirituality. I’ve been photographing throughout that wilderness for the past seven years. My work there began with a documentarian-like objectivity. That approach collapsed rather quickly. While scientific and cultural analyses are critically important to understanding this invaluable resource, it became clear to me that that was not my role. What drew my attention and kept me coming back was the almost tangible spiritual nature of the place.
That spiritual sense is visible in a number of ways but these images focus on the shoreline. There, the water and the forest meet in a symbiotic union. The water is there because the forest is there, and vice versa. That union was created by human intervention intended to protect and naturally filter the water. It has been left to itself for many decades. Overtime, the unmanaged interaction between the water and the forest, aided in part by the numerous beavers that work there, has left us with a powerful visual statement. This is so striking to the few people who venture there. The isolated Quabbin shoreline reveals something about what happens when civilization steps away from a place. If one is to understand the spiritual nature of the Quabbin wilderness, it seems essential to begin the quest here.
These images are all from the Quabbin Reservoir watershed area, taken over the past seven years. The locations vary, but they are all from the areas behind the Dam and the Dike that sit on the south end of the Reservoir. They were taken with an infrared digital camera. The black and white renditions were created in software, and printed on archival photo paper.
James M. Hunt’s photography centers on nature, the environment and the spirit of the landscape. His work has taken him from the wilderness of Massachusetts’ Quabbin Region to the cities of New York, Boston and Worcester, the Delmarva Peninsula of Virginia, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Hunt’s images have been exhibited at solo exhibitions at the Jewish Community Center of Worcester, Sorenson Center for the Arts at Babson College and the Westborough Public Library. His work has also been exhibited at the Brush Gallery in Lowell, Massachusetts and the Griffin Museum of Photography. He has self-published a number of photography-related books including most recently, Mysteries of Manteo.
Hunt is a graduate of the Professional Photography Program at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University and has also participated in workshops at the International Center of Photography, Maine Media College and the Griffin Museum of Photography. Hunt is associate professor of management at Babson College, where he teaches entrepreneurship and organizational behavior; he is the author of a number of books and articles on talent and talent development. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts, with his wife, Chris and poodle, Teddy.
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