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Wainwright wins Book Festival Award

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  January 4, 2011 11:08 AM

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Paul Wainwright was a recent Featured Photographer here on RAW in which he discussed the project that resulted in the book that won the award. Here's a press release about his prize:

New Hampshire photographer Paul Wainwright's new book, "A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England", has received the prestigious New England Book Festival Award for best Photography/Art book of the year.

Wainwright works with a wooden large-format camera, sheet film, and develops all his images in his darkroom. Every photograph is carefully and individually created. He prefers to create a photograph rather than "shoot" or "take a picture" and uses traditional processes which force him to slow down and really think about what he wants his images to be.

Bruce Haring, director of the New England Book Festival, said: " 'A Space for Faith' shows a true artist's eye for detail and serves as a wonderful guide to a part of the region that deserves more attention."

The New England Book Festival Award will be presented at the Festival's award ceremony at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston. The Parker House is the grand literary hotel where Thoreau, Emerson, and Longfellow met at the legendary Saturday Club for poetry readings and high-minded discussions.

"A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England" is a collection of Wainwright's classic black-and-white photographs that paints a composite portrait of these once ubiquitous landmarks of the New England landscape. Only a few remain as they were – touched only by time – and Wainwright's photographs give us a glimpse into an age when life was simpler.

"I am extremely honored by this award," says Wainwright. "New England's meetinghouses embody a large part of our nation's history, and my work photographing them was aimed at bringing their story to a broad audience."

Wainwright, who has long considered himself to be a "photographer with a day job," discovered his creative passion with his first darkroom at age 12. In 2001, when the job he had held for 24 years at Bell Laboratories was eliminated, he embraced his love of photography and re-created his life.

"I took a leap of faith," Wainwright says. "I'll admit that like many of us who suddenly find ourselves without a job, I was scared. But that leap of faith led me to create 'A Space for Faith', a book which wouldn't exist if I'd still been working in the corporate world." Wainwright is now a successful landscape and architectural photographer.

Drawn to capture images that reflect our Puritan heritage, Wainwright says, "They were religious dissidents who came to New England so they could live apart from the Church of England. Their lives were simple, and their belief in God was central to their lives. I believe my meetinghouse photographs reflect the Puritans' simple, well-ordered lives and inspire my quest to simplify my own life."

For review copies and author interviews, call 603-362-6589. Additional information and photos may be found in the Media Room section of the book’s web site,

A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England by Paul Wainwright (ISBN 13: 978-0-9817898-5-9) is published by Peter E. Randall Publisher of Portsmouth, NH.

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