On October 1, 2021, eight exhibitions simultaneously opened at museums and historical societies around the state as part of New Hampshire Now, a joint project of the New Hampshire Historical Society and the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists. The exhibitions showcased a photographic diary of life in the Granite State. Nearly 50 photographers traveled throughout New Hampshire between 2018 and 2020, making thousands of images that collectively create a 21st-century portrait of the people, places, culture, and events of our state. When the project began, little did the participants know what a momentous period it would be, with the 2020 presidential election, the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the rise of a global pandemic that would bring the world to its knees and reshape our lives. The resulting photographic record is a collection of more than 5,000 images that form a powerful visual archive of both the ordinary and extraordinary events of our time. A curated selection of these stunning images were made available to the public through the eight exhibitions, a publication, and public programs and events.
The eight exhibitions were tailored for every region of New Hampshire, featuring images that characterize each specific area. The seven regional exhibitions were at: Belknap Mill Society in Laconia; Colby-Sawyer College in New London; Portsmouth Historical Society; Historical Society of Cheshire County in Keene; the Manchester Historic Association; Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University; and the Tillotson Center in Colebrook. The flagship exhibition at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord showcased the state as a whole and was on view from October 1, 2021, through February 12, 2022. See some of the photographs in this video.
The New Hampshire Now
book, featuring 256 of of the project's powerful images, was an entirely New Hampshire production—designed by Peter Randall in Portsmouth, printed at Puritan Press in Hollis, and produced on paper from Monadnock Paper Mills in Bennington. The book included an introduction by New Hampshire author Howard Mansfield and forewords by New Hampshire Historical Society President Bill Dunlap and New Hampshire Now Project Director Gary Samson, who is New Hampshire’s seventh Artist Laureate.
All eight partner organizations hosted public programs and events of their own. Funded by New Hampshire Humanities, these programs featured a variety of speakers who explored such topics as the history of documentary photography projects in the United States, the sense and power of place and how that can resonate in a photograph, and delving into our state identity through visual representations of New Hampshire.
A panel discussion called “New Hampshire Through the Lens of a Camera” was held via Zoom on October 13, 2021, and featured several of the photographers who created images for New Hampshire Now
. The photographers shared their experiences capturing the Granite State—and Granite Staters. The program was made possible by a grant from New Hampshire Humanities.
Thanks to Our Sponsors
New Hampshire Now
was made possible through the support of New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp, Meredith Savings Bank, Merrimack County Savings Bank, Savings Bank of Walpole, NH Trust, Monadnock Paper Mills, New Hampshire Humanities, Puritan Press, Red River Paper, Kimball Jenkins School of Art, and Furthermore, a J. M. Kaplan Fund.