Skip to content

Reflective Lenses: WaterFire Volunteer Photography Show

The show consists of a vibrant collection of photographs by WaterFire’s Volunteer Photographers featuring highlights of their WaterFire stories interacting together as an enchanting reflection of WaterFire. This group exhibition showcases the work of our local talent in Providence’s cultural tapestry. This show celebrates our volunteer photographers’ talent and contributions to WaterFire Providence.

“There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”  – Edith Wharton

The WaterFire Volunteer Photography Program brings together local artistic talents for an exploration of Providence’s culture and provides an opportunity for local photographers to share experiences and collaborate with one another.

Show run extended through July 2020. The Visitor Center Gallery is open weekly Wednesday through Saturday from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. (We’re closed for Independence Day on July 3 & 4).

Want a virtual tour?
Watch our Virtual Gallery Night Providence Video HERE.



Aquinnah CROSBY
ARTIST STATEMENT: I strive to portray what lies between the light and shadows and makes us stop and think to ourselves.

BIO: Born in New York City, and part of that diaspora… settled in Rhode Island. Aquinnah is a high school student who photographs various things from simple portraits to concerts and other events including WaterFire Providence and Brown University’s Graduation. She has an intense love for photography and enjoys connecting with other creative minds. Ms. Crosby has been creating for several years and looks forward to continuing her work.

instagram: @visualsjunkie

Matthew HUANG
ARTIST STATEMENT: I love capturing the various moments of WaterFire. It’s easy to fall in love with the fire and various lights as a photographer. But the planning and logistics are just as fun, whether that be in the hot heat or rain. It’s amazing to be capturing an event that brings the community together.

BIO: Matthew TW Huang is a Rhode Island-based photographer. He enjoys photographing all aspects of life, whether that be beautiful sunsets, people, or all of life’s moments (including engagements and weddings).

instagram: @MatthewTWHuangPhotography 

Yvonne COYLE
ARTIST STATEMENT: My work captures moments at WaterFire Providence, a very special community gathering, while preserving moments with local artists, musicians and fellow photographers as well as the many WaterFire volunteers and the beautiful scenery captured around. In my art I try to capture the positive things in the moment so that the image will last forever, freezing that moment in time. With these particular images I have picked up my camera and photographed unique and exceptional moments happening in our community.

BIO: Yvonne Coyle started taking pictures when she was school-age and has always had a passion for photography. She loves taking pictures of everything from wildlife, landscapes, concerts, sporting and community events. With a love of animals, wildlife is her favorite. “I’ve always taken pictures growing up and when my kids were small I didn’t always have the means to buy the equipment I needed, I’d say my only obstacle is having the patience of a tree, knowing it will bear fruit in season.” From taking action shots at concerts to professional headshots and landscape photography Yvonne has the experience, know-how, and most importantly the passion to bring out the true emotion and atmosphere of any situation.

instagram: @photography_by_yvonnelynn

ARTIST STATEMENT: Through my photography I strive to portray the human story, the interaction between people and the interaction of people with their environment. For models I look to the works of Bresson, Kertesz, Meier and Frank. The three photos I submitted for this gallery showcase a warm connection between mother and daughter, the joyful playfulness of children, and the patriotism of our veterans.

BIO: Tom Backman has been an avid photographer with a focused interest in street photography. He belongs to the Photographic Society of Rhode Island, and has been shooting for WaterFire for three years. He has studied street photography under David Wells, Martin Waltz, and the Magnum Photographer, Constantine Manos.

e: [email protected]

ARTIST STATEMENT: This was my first year of shooting WaterFire, and I can honestly say that shooting this event is something that I’ll never forget. WaterFire has easily always been my favorite atmosphere to walk through. Between the music, the smell and crackle of the fire, the community of everyone being together, the fact that there’s so much going on, but it’s all so calm. It’s a place to slow down and take it all in. WaterFire is a place to find peace in the chaos. I tried to focus on capturing that environment this year.

BIO: Jared Winslow is a Rhode Island based street photographer/visual storyteller. As a side project, one of his favorite things to do is explore the streets of Providence with his camera. “Whether it’s alone or with friends, it’s been my favorite creative outlet and way to clear my head over the last few years. I have a passion for storytelling, and photography has given me a voice and outlet to express it like I never had before. So photography, and Providence both hold a very special place in my heart.” Jared is a Graphic Design/Animator by day, an avid Instagrammer and a moderator of the IMPVD photography community, @instameetpvd.

instagram: @winslow_j

Comforting Mom
This image of a son comforting his mother was captured during the opening ceremonies of the annual Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation’s sponsored Flames of Hope: A Celebration of LifeTM WaterFire lighting while discussing the effects of a cancer diagnosis on children.

Taken at the 2018 WaterFire Salute to Veterans tribute lighting; this sailor from the Navy Band Northeast reflects on her performance of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Sharing the Flame
18 RI Defeats Hep C torchbearers sharing the flame during the culmination of both the C is for Cure: WaterFire to Defeat Hep C and the annual Clear Currents community paddling arts event.

ARTIST STATEMENT: I have been doing photography since 2004 when I started photographing my son playing high school ice hockey and lacrosse. After he graduated, I put the camera away until 2014. That’s when I saw some images on social media and decided to look further into what I needed to learn to create images like the ones I saw. Mid-Summer of 2015 one of the instructors I had taken classes from posted on social media that he was giving a presentation on different techniques for capturing images using available, low light, to the volunteer WaterFire photographers. I contacted Laura Duclos, the WaterFire Volunteer Photographer coordinator, stating I was interested in learning more and was invited to the meeting. I find it to be a rewarding experience, capturing the emotions of the visitors and performers at WaterFire.

BIO: Jeff Meunier has been a photographer for the past 15 years and has been photographing for WaterFire since 2015. Jeff enjoys documenting the interactions of the guests at WaterFire as they walk through the installation of the braziers on a warm, summer evening. He also enjoys landscape and wildlife photography. Traveling often to the coast of New York, Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

instagram: @jeff_a_meunier

ARTIST STATEMENT: This series of photographs show the progression of a night at WaterFire and the changing atmosphere of the crowd throughout it. First, at sunset, when people start to gather and there is a moment where everything is still, waiting for the lighting to begin. Then the rush of the crowd moving along the walkways as the event is started, and, at the end of the night, quiet moments between those who linger. Something unique about WaterFire is that the large crowd is a part of the atmosphere and never distracts from the quiet, reflective moments that are so important; sitting and watching the fires and the reflection of the city on the water, or making a wish among the dark, lantern-lit trees.

BIO: Erin Cuddigan is a local photographer and artist. Ms. Cuddigan is a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and enjoy all types of photography. She grew up attending WaterFire and have been photographing it for six years.

instagram: @erin_cuddigan

ARTIST STATEMENT: It was my work with the WaterFire Volunteer Photography Group that led to photographing the WaterFire Arts Center.Starting at the beginning of construction, I documented the progress of transforming the former manufacturing facility into its current multi-purpose arts center. I found interesting features and elements along the way, like the crackling layers of paint, now preserved on the support beams, the gantry crane and its tracks, and the metal and brick materials of the original structure. I doubt that in 1929, the designers and builders of the US Rubber Company would think the crackling paint would resemble abstract art today.

It may be surprising, considering that the subject is sitting still, that architectural photography is slow and tedious, requiring specific skills and techniques, both in camera, and in post-processing. In fact, in many cases, it takes longer to edit and develop the final images than to shoot them. Working on projects in my photography practice, more time is spent at the computer than behind the camera.

I’m very interested in seeing a building repurposed, especially to be used for something completely different from the original intended use. One of my favorite projects yet, shooting the WaterFire Arts Center combined my interest in adaptive reuse architecture and architectural photography.

BIO: Elaine is a professional photographer specializing in interiors and architecture, both residential and commercial. She shoots projects by interior designers, architects, and builders, for use in portfolios, websites, design competitions, and publication. She is a contributing photographer for Rhode Island Monthly magazine, and shoots projects for Newport Home Magazine.

Elaine holds certificates in both Interior Design and Digital Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education program, and studied photography for interiors and architecture at New England School of Photography. She is an instructor of Interiors Photography in RISD’s continuing education program. A member of American Society of Media Photographers, Elaine is a volunteer photographer for WaterFire, Flashes of Hope, and the Pan Mass Challenge.

instagram: @elainefredrickphotography

Up Close and Personal
his photograph was taken at the Salute to Veteran’s lighting on November 7, 2015. This image is very special to me as it was my return to WaterFire behind the lens after a major tragedy in my life and months of absence. It helped me to see my love for photography was still in my heart and led me out of the darkness. I never would have found my way without the love and support from my WaterFire family.

This image was taken on July 14, 2018 aboard the WaterFire vessel Prometheus.

Let the Games Begin
This image was taken on the final day of preparation for the 2015 season on Mock Dock Day May 7, 2015. It was my first day back behind the lens for WaterFire after a perfect season and being awarded Rookie Volunteer of the Year for 2014.

ARTIST STATEMENT: I take pictures for close friends, non-profit organizations, and local charities and have never taken a dime for my work. My images have generated thousands of dollars for various non-profit organizations. Photography is a labor of love for me and I have been doing it for over 40 years. My focus is the great city of Providence and all the wonderful people and things within.

BIO: Jen Bonin has been photographing WaterFire since day one, 25 years ago, however, she did not officially join the WaterFire Volunteer Photography Group until 2014. Jen is a college geography and geology professor who lives in and loves her hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. She is happily married to her beloved husband Ronnie of over 18 years.

Jen is proud to be the Lead Photographer for Rhode Island Pride, Newport Pride, Worcester Pride, and Options Magazine. Many of her images have been featured over the last decade in publications such as Providence Monthly, Rhode Island Monthly, Advocate Magazine, The Providence Journal and many others. Her work also hangs in Providence City Hall, Providence Public Library, several hotels, The Dark Lady, and many other locations.


ARTIST STATEMENT: Life happens all around us and capturing a life moment is like hitting the lottery. I photograph to examine these moments and convey it’s emotions to the viewer. A WaterFire Lighting is full of opportunities to capture beautiful urban landscapes, amazing performers, (both staged and street) and engaging with the people attending the event.

BIO: A seven season veteran WaterFire photographer, Kevin Murray is an everyday street photographer whose passion for photography was reignited during a trip to India for his son’s wedding in Calcutta. He shoots sports in the winter and WaterFire in the summer. He recently retired from Verizon after thirty-five years as an IT Engineer.

instagram: @kevin.murray21

ARTIST STATEMENT: Volunteering at WaterFire Providence has made me proud again of Providence, the city I was born and grew up in. I thoroughly enjoy capturing the moment at WaterFire events through photography.

BIO: John Nickerson is a retired Electrical Engineer from Portsmouth RI and was enlisted in USAF for four years. Nickerson worked at Raytheon for thirty-three years as an engineer and has been a volunteer at the South County Habitat for Humanity for twenty-five years. He had been volunteering at WaterFire Providence as a photographer for the past 10 years.

My first piece is entitled, “Anticipation” It depicts a place where people can find relaxation and a sense of calm, even in a hectic urban setting. It is a cityscape under a dramatic sunset sky. As thousands of spectators await the magical beauty of the burning fires that will adorn and illuminate the river.

In “Grace Under Fire” four ballerinas dance with lit torches on a rainy summer night. Filled with passion and energy, they elaborately create the vision of serenity for the people, the place, and the moments that touch the souls of the audience.

“Fire Spinner” depicts the mystical entertainment of a fire performer who keeps alive the spirit of the festival. In this image, the performer seemingly becomes one with the fire. At peace in that particular place, in that particular time.

ARTIST STATEMENT: It has occurred to me that there are two sides to the WaterFire story. One is the constant moving and liveliness of the event. The Taiko drums with their powerful rhythms get the audience excited for an evening of music, dance and other live performers. As a volunteer, it is easy to get lost in the flurry of the fast-paced schedule. So in my second year as a volunteer, I began to compose my photographs as a series of images of fine art street photography that depict a uniquely peaceful sense. Ones that are not characteristically typical of an energetic and hurried urban environment.

In this small body of work, I set out to show the quiet, tranquil and peaceful moments that surround WaterFire Providence. The most interesting part of being a WaterFire photographer is that I have been able to see the event from different perspectives. Through my camera lens, I have had the opportunity to capture the excitement as well as the quietness and serenity that is WaterFire Providence.

BIO: Laura Paton began volunteering with WaterFire Providence in 2017. She is a photojournalist working for Southern RI Newspapers, Inc. As well as a portrait/event photographer for Maré Studios, she owns and operates her own photography business teaching photography classes and photographing weddings and other events. Her fine art photography is sold at several shops in Rhode Island and online at her website.

instagram: @laurapatonphoto