Azorean Whalemen: A Photogenic Retrospective - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Azorean Whalemen: A Photogenic Retrospective

Gemina Garland-Lewis and O. Luis Mazzatenta

Azorean Whalemen: A Photogenic Retrospective

Opened: September 6, 2017

Closed: January 21, 2018

Three decades ago, the last Azorean whalemen set out from island shores in 40-foot boats to hunt whales. Today, the Azorean whaleboat lives on as a symbol of Portuguese-American heritage. Photographers Gemina Garland-Lewis and O. Louis Mazzatenta offered a “then and now” picture of Azorean whaling and the men who were a part of this unique world, in Azorean Whalemen: A Photographic Retrospective.

Azorean Whalemen showcased Mazzatenta’s images shot while on assignment for National Geographic magazine in 1976, when whaling was still actively occurring in the Azores, juxtaposed with photographs taken by Lewis in 2012, 26 years after the last whale was killed there. Lewis’ images were the result of a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant, which aimed to document the stories and images of the last living Azorean whalers. Although Lewis’ and Mazzatenta’s photographs are separated by more than three decades, both artists worked in similar locations and even photographed some of the same men. The exhibition highlighted the changes over time and allowed viewers to see the “then” and “now” of Azorean whaling.

Although whaling has ended in the Azores, its heritage lives on in the unique design of the Azorean whaleboat. The exhibition coincided with the 9th International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta, hosted by the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society (AMHS) in New Bedford on September 8-10, 2017.  The Whaling Museum and AMHS have been unwavering partners since the Society’s founding in 1997 and have worked together to promote Portuguese maritime history and culture in the community.