Preview: Ella Jorgensen Retrospective


Click an image to view all as a slideshow with captions.

Our current temporary exhibit is actually a very small version of a larger one, scheduled to open in 2019. This small preview — four panels and thirty-two images — will be on view until we begin to install the more comprehensive retrospective.

Amateur photographer Ella Frisbee Jorgensen (1864—1945) was the daughter of Shoreline Region pioneers. For almost fifty years she focused her camera on local people, places, and events. Thus, nearly all of what we know of the first half of 20th century Tomales is illuminated and enhanced by Jorgensen’s work, from her careful documentation of the 1906 earthquake and the disastrous 1920 fire here, to her visual records of buildings, celebrations, and friends and neighbors throughout the area.

Self-taught, originally shooting with a simple Brownie camera, Ella Jorgensen developed a body of work that revealed a journalist’s heart, a keen sense of humor, and an obvious love of people. She seems to have not been overly concerned with technique and composition, but rather concentrated on capturing the large and small events of the local life she so enjoyed.

We are pleased and proud to be planning this retrospective of the work of a remarkable local woman. In the meantime, you are invited to visit the museum to see a small hint of what is to come — whether the small preview exhibit, or the beginning installation stages of the retrospective. (Which, though sometimes messy and chaotic, can be interesting in its own way!)


Ginny Magan