Martha Lanctot is the featured artist for December at the CNY Arts in the heART Gallery in Fulton.
Lanctot’s work is affordable and so very versatile and she is a great addition to the gallery, officials say. The world of photography has evolved and so much has changed but Lanctot has changed along with it.
Here is how she describes her foray into photography:
“My fascination with photography began when I was five, which was 1947. My father was an electrical engineer for Alcoa. His job was to analyze how well various alloys of aluminum wire conducted electricity.
“The analysis required miles of photographic film. At the end of each of these gigantic rolls was a trailer of nearly 3 feet which would only be discarded. Dad would rescue the trailer.
“Later he would have mom lock him in the pitch dark of the car trunk so that he could fit that piece of film into his camera. .. Then on a given magic night a bedroom would be turned into a darkroom.
“Dad, ever the engineer, rigged a tuna fish can, and tomato juice can, a length of pipe, and his camera to project an image on to the piece of photo sensitive paper. The paper went through various Pyrex dishes of chemicals and finally into the bathtub for rinsing. We had photos! It was magic in black and white.
“One Christmas in the early 1950s I received my very own box camera. Each roll of film had only eight precious frames. The roll had to be mailed away for developing, and it took forever for the prints to be returned.
“I think Dad had as much fun teaching me to take pictures as I had being with him. Once, early on, he showed me how to take a picture of myself pouring a basin of water on myself by taking a carefully arranged double exposure. Oh, how I wish I had that picture today.
“My mother was a quilter and as such she was a wonderful fabric artist. She had a strong sense of color and composition for her quilts. I spent long hours watching her put her designs together, and hopefully some of her talent has seeped into me.
“She is 98 now and nearly blind, but her quilts are still known and sought in St. Lawrence County.
“Over the next 60 years, I went through a number of cameras. One drowned off the coast of Nova Scotia when I was helping put out lobster pots. Another died on safari in Kenya while “shooting” lions.
One was smashed to smithereens in a horrible car accident. One was ruined by sand and suntan lotion in Florida. Just recently my newest and best went over a cliff and bounced into a stream of water. The telephoto lens now has a visible curve, but remarkably still works.
“With my retirement has come time to explore the process of putting together the thousand piece jigsaw puzzle of technology and art that is photography. And still the surprises keep coming.”
Lanctot is one of the many photographers with work on display. Work by Judy Campany showing her treasure chest of beautiful Oswego County, Roxanne Butler with her many facets of photographs, William Grace Jr. with his very contemporary line, and Kendra Matott with her magical, fantasy line of prints can all be seen at the Arts in the heART Gallery.