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Stories of voyaging aboard Hokule'a




Edgartown Light House composite

Vineyard Gazette 2010

Photo Essay

Vineyard Lifeline


Salton Sea Saga

wandering the desert in Southern California



First Prize - Pictorial category

New England Newspaper and Press Association - 2009

Vineyard Gazette

"Black, white and gray tones sing in this image. Perspective,

leading lines and framing of this subject matter draw the

viewer into the image and command the eye to roam throughout it.

Very well done!"


New - Graphic Art

Martha's Vineyard 2009 - 2011

Martha's Vineyard


art basel miami beach

a visit to the famous art fair

New York Art Crawl

Spring 2008 - the art scene






AUGUST 21, 2009




front page vineyard gazette

November 5, 2010

Election Day Photo by Sam Low


Cape Pogue Light


Link to Oslo Art Online

a wonderful web gallery in Norway

Martha's Vineyard Times

October 1, 2009

see below for readable version

Galleries : Pushing the envelope
By Karla Araujo
Published: October 1, 2009

Wrapping up their first season as the new owners of Dragonfly Gallery, Don McKillop and Susan Davy decided to go out with a wallop. They rounded up dramatic and eclectic work of 14 acclaimed photographers from the Vineyard and far beyond in their Fall Invitational Photography Show, "Captured!" From the award-winning internationally recognized work of New York City-based Frank Stewart to the Island's own extraordinary eye of Sam Low, Dragonfly Gallery will showcase photographs featuring a unique mixture of subject matter, styles, and technique until closing day, Monday, Oct. 12.

Ayano Hisa's "Subway Soprano Sax" is included in Dragonfly Gallery's photography exhibit, "Captured!" Photos courtesy of Dragonfly Gallery

The show opened September 29; a reception is slated for Saturday, Oct. 10, from 5 to 7 pm.

Located in the Arts District of Oak Bluffs at 91 Dukes County Ave., Dragonfly was owned by Holly Alaimo for 14 years before it changed hands in April 2009. According to Mr. McKillop it has been an exciting and successful transition. "We're working hard to accomplish what Holly hoped we would - to continue her tradition of bringing really good work to the Island and to take it to the next level," he says.

"Slave Castle Back," a photo by Frank Stewart.

To that end, Mr. McKillop and his wife, Ms. Davy, decided to juggle the schedule and shift the annual photography show from the spring to the fall. "We're hoping that we'll attract a larger audience this time of year," he says. Other changes on the drawing board: a new logo and website, the possibility of shows that hang for longer blocks of time, and the continuation of a new concept they initiated this summer: intimate Friday night openings for serious collectors.

Mr. McKillop describes their first season as "extremely successful," saying that he and his wife enjoyed an exceptional July and August and have high hopes for next summer.
"Captured!" features photographers from the U.S., Japan, and Germany who were invited to "push the envelope," according to Mr. McKillop. He says he hopes that their work will "shake things up a little here."
With locales ranging from Cuba to Africa and subjects from jazz musicians to abstracts, the work reflects a complete array of contemporary photographic styles and techniques, including that of Frank Stewart, an award-winning photographer whose work has been shown at the Corcoran Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the International Center of Photography. Mr. Stewart was among the first group of North American journalists to be invited to visit Cuba, in 1977. His portfolio includes those images as well as others from Africa, Japan, Spain, and across the U.S., including his work as senior staff photographer for jazz at Lincoln Center.

"Home Port," by Sam Low, is on display through October 12.

Mr. Stewart's photos will hang alongside those of his former intern at Lincoln Center, Ayano Hiso of Japan, a recent M.F.A. graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design. Ms. Hiso's work is comprised of black-and-white images of musicians and landscapes, portraiture, digital color images of musicians and dancers, and street photography.

Inspired by CD jackets as a teenager, Ms. Hiso strives to capture the rhythm of any scene she witnesses. "Even the images that are not directly related to music somehow let you hear the sound of sea, seagulls, wind, etc," she says. "When I photograph anything I follow my own rhythm."

Sam Low has been shooting photographs since he was 10 years old and relied on the medium extensively in his work as an archeologist, anthropologist, filmmaker, and writer. Today he wields his digital camera as both photojournalist and fine art photographer, striving to combine technical merit with a layering of themes. "A good photograph should express not only what is there but how what is there makes the photographer feel about it," he explains. Mr. Low grew up summering on the Island nearly every year since his birth in 1942. "Captured!" will include a variety of Mr. Low's Vineyard images, both abstract and representational.

Connecticut-based photographer Alan Muney spends summers on the Vineyard and lends his images of the Island, and of Venice Beach and Seal Beach, Calif., to the show. An avid photographer since childhood, Mr. Muney put down the camera to practice medicine, but retrieved his love for the medium about 12 years ago. His work is "about capturing the art in ordinary life," he says.

Peter Dreyer, another summer Vineyard resident, relies on large-format black and white photography and a traditional darkroom to achieve the special effects in his work. A professional photographer for 35 years, he enjoys the challenge of achieving unique results while eschewing the ease of PhotoShop. "I'm interested in patterns derived from Island subject matter," he says. "In a traditional darkroom you soon bump up against the limitations of the medium when you try to achieve certain types of images. You have to invent ways to overcome those limitations."

It was just 170 years ago that Henry Fox Talbot and Louis Daguerre announced their inventions of the photographic process. Appearing at the Dragonfly Gallery through Columbus Day, "Captured!" shows us how varied the expressions of this relatively young medium can be.

"Captured!", Tuesday, Sept. 29-Monday, Oct. 12. Reception, Saturday, Oct. 10, 5-7 pm, Dragonfly Gallery, Oak Bluffs. Photographers included: Tim Coy, Susan Davy, Peter Dreyer, Joann Frecehette, Scott Garner, Ginny Gosselin, Ayano Hiso, Horst Josch, Sam Low, Lanny McDowell, Tess Miller, Alan Muney, Frank Stewart, Paulette Wexler.508-693-8877;
Karla Araujo is a freelance writer and regular contributor to The Times.




Exhibit of Sam's Photographs at

Dragonfly Gallery

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard

June 21 - July 2, 2006

Artist's Reception 5 - 7 PM June 24.




September 3, 2005 - the old Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard. Along with my cousin Lanny McDowell and a half dozen or so helpers, I unload a plethora of cars and trucks to set up my first photographic exhibit. The task before us is formidable. Within the next five hours, we have to convert a dark barn-like hall into an art gallery for a one day photo and painting exhibit. Thrirty six flood lights have to be mounted, some 80 works of art hung, a huge digital TV monitor hooked up, tables unfolded, flowers arranged, champagne chilled and a half ton or so of finger foods prepared.

Perhaps I am a little ahead of myself.

Here, read this Vineyard Gazette article to get yourself placed in time:

Front Page

Friday, September 2, 2005



Cousins, Partners in Art Open Two-Man Exhibit At West Tisbury Grange





ARTISTIC GENES. Photo by M.C. Wallo


Sam Low and Lanny McDowell have a lot in common.


For a time the two raced performance cars on Connecticut tracks. They each dabbled in other occupations before discovering their calling. And a rainy-day lunch of dill havarti cheese and ripe tomatoes seems to sate them both.


But what really unites them is something in the genes: Mr. Low and Mr. McDowell are artists and second cousins once removed. The two share a love of color and vibrancy, a glib sense of humor and a willingness to explore their respective medians: acrylic paint for Mr. McDowell and digital photography for Mr. Low. Come Saturday, the artistcousins will hold their first collaborative show at the agricultural hall in West Tisbury .


Seated on plush couches in Mr. McDowell's barn-turned-gallery in West Tisbury , surrounded by their varied and complementary works, the two artists beg the question of how large a role heredity plays in personality.


Both hail from artistic families. Mr. McDowell's mother, Martha McDowell, was a renowned sculptor; Mr. Low's parents Sanford Ballard-Dole-Low and Virginia Hart are both known for their masterful paintings.


For Mr. Low's part, a filmmaker and photojournalist most of his life, it was the technological advances made possible by digital cameras that more recently inspired him to explore the fine art field. Armed with a Nikon D-70 camera, Mr. Low traversed the Island landscape all last fall, waking at dawn and shooting throughout the day. Once he captured an image that tickled his fancy, he would return home to manipulate the colors, tones and textures on his computer. The process, he explained, was largely one of serendipitous experimentation.

One of his favorite pieces, Propeller, is a close-up of a bright, brass propeller. Using the powerful computer program and an artist's eye, Mr. Low brought out minuscule details, such as a tiny nick on one of the blades that suggests the working nature of the boat and crew manning it. Another featured work, Morning has Broken, captures a crimson sunrise peeking through phragmites tassels.


Standing on an easel is another favorite, Homeport, a photograph of the schooner Alabama slumbering at its mooring in Vineyard Haven while the Islander lumbers toward it in the distance. Mr. Low took the shot by paddling out in his kayak and cradling his camera just millimeters off the water's surface.


His work — bold, different and captivating — soon attracted the attention of Mr. McDowell, a well knownIsland painter. As luck would have it, he was looking for an artist to participate with him in an upcoming show. The two recalled visiting an exhibit in New Britain , Conn. , in 2002, which featured both their mother's works, and gradually realized they, too, could pair up and showcase their art. The idea simmered until recently, when Mr. McDowell called the photographer and popped the question — which did not go over well in the beginning.


“My first reaction was unprintable,” Mr. Low said. “I wasn't ready.” After a little coaxing, a mock-up of their art side by side and a lot of gentle ribbing, Mr. Low had a change of heart. “This exhibit is really a process of development that Lanny kicked off,” he said. “It's a milestone for me.”


As for Mr. McDowell, he has been working full-time as an artist for over a year now. A former carpenter, he finally heeded the call and hung up his tool belt for good.


“At some point you have to pick a date and say, That's when that part is over and I get up and think about art and not what tools to put in my truck,” said Mr. McDowell of his decision.

“Part of it had to with the double-sided sword of growing up in an art family.”

Mr. McDowell works at his craft every day at the Ott Gallery behind his house. The building is resplendent with his varied paintings hanging floor to ceiling. Recently he has focused on three themes: conventional boat hulls against unusual backgrounds, water reflections and the magic of undulating grasses. His work has been praised for its color and vibrancy, a compliment that has baffled the painter.


“Everybody mentions it, and the curious thing is my materials aren't any different from the other painters,” he said.


A three-painting series of a fishing boat returning from sea is a prime example of the artist's unique take on light, color and horizon. Mr. McDowell was rounding Moshup's Point one winter day when he spotted the vessel. Returning to the gallery, he set about transferring the image onto canvas and realized one was not enough. The first painting, aptly titled South Coast Working Boat No. 1, shows a close-up of the boat returning, set against an aquamarine sky and deep blue sea. In the second painting, South Coast Working Boat No. 2, Mr. McDowell employed one of his favorite techniques: blending the sea and sky's horizon into one. The result is an almost three-dimensional depiction of the boat; it leaves it to the viewer to decide where ocean ends and sky begins. In the third, the familiar working boat turns orange in the evening sun and a speckled sky of clouds spreads behind it. Another painting in the gallery, Sargasso Overlook, is a strong example of Mr. McDowell's abstract interests. In it, he blends reds, greens and blues to create an impression of water and reflection. The painting is not based on any particular scene, but came straight from his mind's eye. Closer examination reveals which direction the waves are traveling, or which way the wind is blowing — though it all depends on the viewer's interpretation.


All of his work is uplifting, the result of the vivacious, make-your-eyesblink colors and the beauty of the scenes captured on canvas. This is not unintentional, as Mr. McDowell firmly believes in the optimistic side of art and its healing power.


“I am interested in harmonies, but they are strong harmonies. These are not foggy days,” he said. “It's about communicating some kind of up-attitude — that's what the colors are about.”


Mr. Low agreed, and the two stopped to compare notes on the importance of color and perspective. Then, considering their mutual endeavor, they both reached a similar conclusion: “I'm really happy that Sam is my partner in this enterprise,” Mr. McDowell said.

“And without Lan, there would be no enterprise for my art,” Mr. Low said. “I think these two types of art work very well together.”


The Two Cousins Art Exhibit opens Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Grange, with a reception from 4 to 8 p.m. Pianist David Stanwood will play at the event and light food and champagne will be served.


OK. So not only was I a little concerned about setting up the exhibit, I was worried about what would happen then. Would anyone come? Would they actually buy anything? Would they have fun? Would I and my friends have fun? Or was the whole thing an exercise in hubris? Had my ego led me down a twisted path to disaster?

I had been taking photographs most of my life and I had made a few dozen successful movies and videos. But this was a fine art exhibit and it was being put up on Labor Day weekend in one of the most intense art zones in the world. This was the home of photographers like Alison Shaw and David Fokos and artists like Thomas Hart Benton and Rez Williams. What was I thinking?

All that aside, I was also stepping into the shoes of my parents, two very successful artists. How could I possibly compete with them?

I was buoyed by the presence of my wife Karin and old friends who had swarmed to the island to help me out. They were filmmakers who had won many awards and knew the business of presenting visual images: Terry Rockefeller and her husband Bill Harris and their daughter Hannah; Bob Burns and Deborah Dorsey - my partners in Cambridge Studios - and their children Bobby and Georgia; and Melanie Wallace along with her husband Andre Martin and their daughter Samantha. If anyone knew how to get things done, it was this group.

As it turned out - I needn't have worried.

"This is the best damn art opening I have ever attended," one savant told me as the champagne flowed and David Stanwood struck up on the piano in the background. Photographs seemed to fly off the walls - I sold twelve of the twenty I had hung and later received orders for five more - almost a sellout!

Here's what it looked like:



And here are a few photographs I showed:



33 x 33

Shadowbox with mat and floating quadrants



White Boat

24 x 19 shadow box with mat



Good Coffee

18 x 33 inches shadow box w/out mat


Morning Has Broken

33 x 33

Shadowbox with mat andf floating quadrants



Home Port

18 x 24


New England Press Association
Better Newspaper Contest
Pictorial Photo Category
Weekly Newspaper

Second Place
Sam Low
Vineyard Gazette, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
“The key to this fabulous photograph is the composition that transforms an ordinary subject into a spectacular photograph. I particularly loved the angle the boats were shot from and the detail — specifically the ripples in the water as the far boat approaches.”



Shadowbox with mat

17 x 24






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