The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 3, 2003


Photographer's eye for nature on show at Gleason

Photographer and former 20-year Carlisle resident Tom Arnold first displayed his pictures at the Gleason Library in Carlisle in 1990. Now a Sudbury, and over two dozen exhibits later, he returns to town to show his current work in the refurbished library setting.

"I like any subject with strong colors and strong light," said Arnold. "The one subject that I'm always interested in is water. Water always fascinates me, whether it's the ocean, a lake, or a river or just little drops of water coming off a spigot."

Former Carlislean Tom Arnold comes back to town on October 4 at a reception to launch his photography show at the Gleason Library from 2 to 4 p.m. The show runs until November 8. (Photo by Anne Marie Brako)

You can view the photographer's work now in a show entitled "Coastlines, Harbors, and the Concord River." The show, part of the library's Visual Arts Program, runs at the Gleason until November 8. The show includes about 20 photographs. Most are 16 x 20 in size, but some are 20 x 26 and a few are 18 x 24. Prices for a matted print with a foam core backing start at $150 for the smallest size format. The images are also available as Giclee prints on watercolor paper and with frames for an additional fee. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the library.

Talent makes a hobby more than fun

Originally from Ohio, Arnold attended grade school in the Midwest and ended up at Princeton University for college where he graduated in 1959. He joined the Navy for a few years where he discovered photography.
"I bought a camera in Japan because they were really cheap," recalls Arnold. "You could get a really good 35-millimeter camera for 75 dollars. It almost didn't make sense not to buy a camera."

With camera in hand, Arnold began recording his life aboard an aircraft carrier in Southeast Asia. He took photographs at stops in Japan and the Philippines. After leaving the Navy, Arnold came to the Boston area where he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1964. He stayed in the area to work, and although he no longer practices, his name still appears on the door of the Arnold and Kangas law firm in Concord. He moved to Carlisle in 1970. All the while, he continued taking photographs recreationally.

In the mid-1980s, Arnold decided he wanted to improve his photography. He found that he would take a really exceptional photograph every 100 shots, and wanted to learn to do that on a more consistent basis.

"I started going to workshops," said Arnold. While living in Carlisle, he enrolled in week-long sessions at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Rockport, Maine. Vibrant color and intriguing graphic design emerged as trademarks of his work.

Today he spends about 10 hours a day outdoors taking photographs. He takes about two rolls of photographs a week. Now he only shoots two or three pictures of a subject and can count on them turning out well. He does not develop nor print the photographs himself; however, he does frame them.

Arnold looks back at that first show in Carlisle as when he became an "artist." In the last year he exhibited four times and sold fifteen photographs. He has had several prints selected by the Concord Art Association for juried shows. He belongs to an informal group called the Sudbury Valley Nature Photographers.

Capturing the local river scenes

In the show at the Gleason, the coastlines and harbors are of Rockport harbor, Quisset harbor on the Cape, and other locations in Massachusetts. The Sudbury River pictures are part of a larger project Arnold began working on this summer. The images will be part of a slide show at Walden Woods in October.

"I am trying to document the entire Sudbury River from Cedar Swamp Pond in Westboro where it starts all the way down to Egg Rock in Concord where it ends and joins the Assabet River," said Arnold.

Nature and its preservation has always intrigued Arnold. He was the chairman of the Carlisle Conservation Commission for four years, and on the commission for eight. He was previously married to Margot Arnold on East Riding Drive. Both his children from his first marriage attended the Carlisle Public School through 8th grade. They include a son Robert, 35, now in Minnesota and a daughter, Kay, 32, in Connecticut. Arnold recalls paddling a canoe with his son in the Ice-Breaker race on the Concord River in the first weekend in November.

The photographer is now married to Dorsey Arnold, the director of a facility for mentally retarded adults in Hudson. His hobbies include tennis and golf.

Come say hello to a former neighbor or make a new acquaintance at Arnold's library reception on Saturday, October 4 from 2 to 4 p.m.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito