Kevin Dayhoff - Soundtrack Division of Old Silent Movies - www.kevindayhoff.net - Runner, writer, artist, fire and police chaplain. The mindless ramblings of a runner, journalist, and artist: National and International politics. For community see www.kevindayhoff.org. For art, writing and travel see www.kevindayhoff.com
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Thursday, May 03, 2012
“Child of the Universe,” the latest exhibition by Phil Grout opens Friday at Off Track Art in Westminster
“Child of the Universe,” the latest exhibition by Phil Grout
opens Friday at Off Track Art in Westminster
Award-winning Carroll County photojournalist, fine art
photographer, and author, Phil Grout, will appear for the opening of his latest
exhibition Friday, May 4, 2012, at Off Track Art in Westminster.
His latest exhibit, titled “Child of the Universe,” is a
collection of 40 black and white images that come to life from Grout’s 45 years
of documenting life in Americas, Africa, Asia and India.
Grout is no stranger to Off Track Art, where he exhibited
extensively from January through June in 2011.
Previously Grout had a critically acclaimed retrospective
show at Birdie’s Cafe, 233 E. Main St., Westminster, MD ran in November and
December 2010. That show, “44/40,” spanned over four decades of Grout’s work,
from Vietnam to Africa, Plains Georgia, to Carroll County; and included almost
70 pieces of work.
“I’ve never done a show like this,” said Grout in an
interview last Wednesday. “This show focuses upon our humanity and what binds
us together… It’s 40 4-by-6 inch framed black and white images of people and
runs the gamut of emotions,” explained Grout.
For example, in “Afua's Hands,” Grout reminisces “Her name
was Afua Nyame. At 83 she was the oldest cocoa farmer in the village of Odaho,
Ghana, West Africa. In Harvest of Hope, a book by Grout for SERRV International,
he wrote, “Hope carves trails in an old woman's hands then plows furrows up her
arms, and all trails lead back home where food is never scarce and the medicine
is always half full.”
In another photograph, “Giving Thanks,” Grout shares that it
“is a portrait I made in 1971 of John and Irene Wolf saying grace in their
humble Taneytown home. John was a huckster who hauled livestock to the
Woodsboro auction for over 50 years. He would return many times with box lots
of 19th century tools.
“Over the years he built an extensive collection of
Americana and hand-wrought farm implements and tools. The Wolfs helped shine
the light on my path which lead me round the world in search of the threads
which bind us together as human beings.”
Since 1966 that path has lead Grout and his work throughout
North, South and Central America, Asia and Africa gathering images for newspapers,
magazines, wire services, and book publishers.
According to his website, philgrout.com, and a series of e-mail interviews, Grout said
he “started to learn his craft as a photographer in 1966 working as a
photojournalist for the U.S. Navy covering naval operations in Vietnam.
“But I quickly learned it wasn’t the images of war I was
hunting, but more the face of humanity as I roamed the back alleys of Saigon;
Hong Kong; Sasebo, Japan
and Olongopo, Philippines.”
With pictures and words Grout, “became a gatherer of the
threads which bind us together as human beings.”
After the war, Grout “came home and settled in rural Maryland with his wife, Mary Lou, and worked for nearly
10 years as a photographer, reporter, and editor for the Hanover Evening Sun in Westminster.”
Since moving to CarrollCounty, Grout has
authored three critically acclaimed photo essay books. His work has been
awarded by the Associated Press as well as various arts organizations. It has
also been featured in art galleries throughout the United States.”
According to Grout, “I fell in love with this land and its
people who worked the land in my new rural home. That love pulled me away to
in the late 70’s to complete my first book as I lived in an abandoned
sharecropper’s home near President Jimmy Carter’s farm, and learned first hand
the rigors of working the land and documenting the “tillers of the soil.”
His first venture into the book world won him national
critical acclaim, including recognition from Publisher’s Weekly which called A
Spell in Plains “a triumph.”
In the 1980’s Grout took his camera throughout the
developing world in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and India documenting the work of
various relief organizations.
A second book of photography, “Seeds of Hope,” “grew from
the splinters left in the wake of a hurricane which cut a path through Nicaragua in
1988,” recalled Grout.
Grout then went on to live in Ghana,
West Africa in 2002, with an extended family
of cocoa farmers to create his latest book, “Harvest of Hope,” a portrait of
those who toil to bring us chocolate.
Grout, who is also an avid gardener, is constantly pushing
the artistic envelope in search of new and innovative ways to tell a story,
over the past four decades he has explored drawing, blacksmithing, woodworking,
papermaking, and new photographic processes in photography.
In a May 21, 1995 article in the Baltimore Sun, credits his father, Gerald C.
Grout, for his interest in art and photography. “He’s the one who really got me
into photography. He was a physician and a fine photographer. He had his own
darkroom, and I used to watch him,” Grout told Sun writer, Ellie Baublitz.
At the time, the article in 1995 described Grout’s show at
the CarrollCountyArtsCenter, also a
retrospective, “Jubilee: A Photographic Retrospective.”
“Like his father, Mr. Grout has a studio and darkroom in his
Westminster home, where he develops prints, standard photos as well as what he
calls ‘photoglyphs’ and an even newer image using handmade paper,” wrote
Baublitz in 1995.
“His photographs capture people, animals, and nature, mostly
in black and white, few in color, some as photoglyphs.
The photoglyphs are a relatively new method of developing prints
that Mr. Grout discovered while experimenting with chemicals,” observed
“For those who have the time, Mr. Grout can tell the story
behind (each of) his photographs.”
Indeed, his photographs all tell a short philosophical story
about Grout’s worldwide travels in the four decades of a life rich in
storytelling and experiences.
Grout is “Good picture shooter and a colleague in
journalism… (We worked together) starting in the Navy and then at the Hanover
Evening Sun… I have three or four walls covered with his work in my home…. (I)
recommend you stop by and see his stuff,” said former Carroll County
Commissioner and fellow Vietnam veteran, Dean Minnich
Sherri Hosfeld Joseph, the owner of Birdie’s and an artist
and critically acclaimed photographer herself, added, “Phil Grout is one of the
greatest photojournalists of his generation. We are truly blessed as a
community that he has chosen our stories to document. His work will leave you
After his work in Africa, Phil returned to his first love,
photojournalism, and newspapers in 2006, freelancing for Patuxent Publishing
and its string of papers in central Maryland. His photo illustrations regularly
appear in Carroll Magazine as well.
Phil’s photography and reporting have been awarded by the
Associated Press, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association as well as various
"Child of the Universe," a collection of 40 black
& white images opens Friday, May 4, 5:30-7:30, at Off Track Art, an
artists’ collective and gallery located in the historic Liberty Building at 11
Liberty Street – next to the railroad tracks, off of the Sentinel parking lot
at the corner of West Main St and MD 27-Liberty St - in the historic downtown of
Westminster, Maryland. The exhibition runs through the month of June.