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Parrish Dobson

Fine Art Color and
Black and White Photography

Ashley’s House

An Artist's “Wonder Cabinet”

Project StatementMinimize

Ashley Bryan (1924-2022), artist and extraordinary children’s book illustrator, lived and worked on Little Cranberry Island in Maine.  Winning many prizes, his books celebrate African American stories, heritage, and pride. His home is itself a work of art, a "wonder cabinet" crammed with both vernacular and exquisite objects from around the world.  Ashley told me he wanted his house to bring joy to visitors—which indeed it does.  It is a wake up call to join in the spirit of human creativity from around the world. My photographs move in close to some of his whimsical arrangements which create conversations across time and cultures.  I was invited to photograph his home over the course of four day long visits in 2018 and 2019.  His work is archived at the University of Pennsylvania, Colby College, Bates College, and is being celebrated at several New England area museums including the Farnsworth in Rockland Maine.