Local residents are being asked to participate in a project chronicling life in the Adirondacks a century ago. The J.S. Wooley Project is an effort to collect information and photos from Wooley, a famed photographer in the region at the turn of the 20th Century. A meeting on the project will be held Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 8 p.m. at the Silver Bay YMCA auditorium.
Local residents are being asked to participate in a project chronicling life in the Adirondacks a century ago.
The J.S. Wooley Project is an effort to collect information and photos from Wooley, a famed photographer in the region at the turn of the 20th Century.
A meeting on the project will be held Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 8 p.m. at the Silver Bay YMCA auditorium.
“We’re reaching out to people in the community,” explained Richard Timberlake, one of the project leaders. “So many people in the area know about J.S. Wooley and his work that we’re seeking they help. They may have information we can use.”
Timberlake hopes to schedule a similar meeting in Ticonderoga this fall.
The project will create of book, video, traveling exhibit and website detailing Wooley’s work around Lake George.
Jesse Sumner Wooley (1867-1943) was a Ballston Spa photographer who documented the area surrounding Lake George.
“Wooley’s artistic vision combined with the changing science of photography fueled his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, resulting in thousands of photographs of local, national and international people, places and events,” according to Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa, which is sponsoring the project. “Wooley embraced the technological changes in photography as they emerged, and produced thousands of photographs that he shared with his community.
“The J.S. Wooley Project unveils newly discovered images that showcase an emerging America, whose people valued travel, leisure and wealth,” the museum claims.
Timberlake, himself a photographer, said Wooley photos are common throughout the region. Some are on exhibit at Fort Ticonderoga.
“We’ve had meetings in Saratoga, Silver Bay and at the Crandall Library (Glens Falls),” Timberlake said. “We’re slowly working our way around the lake.”
Timberlake, who helped open the Downtown Gallery in Ticonderoga, has spent time at Glenburnie the past 10 years. After obtaining skills for darkroom work at Ohio State University and Columbus College of Art and Design, he pursued a variety of activities and working in many aspects of photography and print. In 2004, he founded Timberlake Photos.
In 2011 a friend told Timberlake about hundreds of Wooley negatives found in Bolton.
“There must have been 700-800 negatives and they didn’t know what to do with them,” Timberlake recalled. “I have a darkroom and was able to help.”
Philip Terrie, emeritus professor of American Culture Studies and Environmental Studies at Bowling Green State University, is assisting Timberlake in leading the project. Formerly assistant curator at the Adirondack Museum, he is author of “Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks” and “Forever Wild: A History of Wilderness in the Adirondacks,” both published by Syracuse University Press.
“Brookside cares for thousands of Wooley’s images and negatives – all reflecting the artistic talent of a man who was using cutting edge technology during his time,” said Joy Houle, Brookside’s executive director. “Another private collection of Wooley photographs focusing on the Adirondacks was recently discovered, and that has prompted the launch of the J.S. Wooley Project.”