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1958 Photos Capture Glimpses of Lobster Fishery's Past

Maine photographer Kosti Ruohomaa was a award winning photojournalist during the 1940s and ’50s. He grew up in Rockland and graduated from Rockland high school. He attended art school before leaving Maine to work for Walt Disney Studios. Ruohomaa then specialized in photography, working for the famed Black Star photo agency in Manhattan. He shot assignments all over the world for publications like Look, Life, National Geographic, and Ladies Home Journal.


Ruohomaa documented the reality of rural Maine, both inland and on the coast, and made it visible to the world. He became an excellent photographic storyteller, depicting Maine residents with honesty and dignity. Many years after his death in 1961 his photographs passed on to the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, which has catalogued the images and made them available online here.


Gene Rackliffe, a lobsterman from Wheelers Cove in South Thomaston,

works on lobster traps in his workshop in 1958.

Ruohomaa took many photographs of Gene and members of his family

at work and at their home in Spruce Head.


Floyd Conant of Port Clyde and a dog pass the time in his fish house.

Maine Coast Fisherman ran a regular column for a number of years called

“Fisherman’s Mug-up” which featured portraits of fishermen.

This photo by Ruohomaa ran in the column in May 1958.


Ote Lewis and family were long-time residents of “Trails End” in Owls Head.

He was one of the founders of the Rockland Lobster Festival and a member of

the MLA board of directors in the 1950s.

In this 1958 photograph, Lewis works on lobster traps in his workshop

with freshly painted buoys above his head.


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