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Avon student examines the life and work of renowned Worcester photographer

WORCESTER, Mass.—Clark University senior Rachel B. Polinsky of Avon was among a group of 11 students who spent recently researched the life and works of Worcester-based photographer Frederick Coulson, who has 14 pictures in “Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period” at the Worcester Art Museum, the first major museum exhibit devoted to the technique that gives photographs a distinct blue print.

When Polinsky set out to explore Coulson’s photographs of botanicals, she visited the archives at the Worcester Historical Society to find out more about his life and discovered his career as an architectural draftsman.  Seeing his notes and sketches on his blueprints “entertained” her and made her feel closer to Coulson.

“Being able to see his blueprints was incredibly fascinating,” Polinsky wrote in her blog. “I truly felt like I was able to get to know him better by seeing his livelihood.

“Photography might have been a passion of his,” she wrote, as she discovered his work was virtually undocumented. “I felt it was important not to simply ignore his career as an architectural draftsman, and I am glad I didn’t.”

Polinsky, who will graduate from Clark in May with a degree in art history and ancient civilizations, and the student group helped organize and prepare for the exhibit and provided essays for the “Cyanotypes” exhibition catalogue. They visited galleries and museums and spoke with artists’ representatives and the artists themselves to reconstruct histories of the photographers and create labels describing some of the works in this 78-piece exhibit. Polinsky’s academic performance earned her a place on Clark’s Dean’s List.

The “Cyanotypes” exhibit is on display at the Worcester Art Museum through April 24.

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