Sunday, June 24, 2012


Washington Island -

Retired photojournalist Ron Overdahl, Washington Island, will exhibit a sampling of his many photos at the Historic Island Dairy gallery.

The first floor gallery as well as the rest of the newly renovated former "cheese factory" or "Island chalet" (names by which this building has also been known locally over the years) will open to the public Saturday, June 30, from 4 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be available.

Historic Island Dairy owners, Marsha Williams and Scott Sonoc, have made it possible according to Overdahl, by offering him  their space and encouragement.   For this show, he's selected nearly 100 photos, all but a few in black and white, out of thousands taken during his lifetime.
Overdahl's career as photojournalist, which began as a high school student at Milwaukee's Custer High School, included 37 years with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.   Assignments have taken him to a wide variety of events, where subjects he's covered included well-known artists, politicians and sports figures, as well as the citizen-at-large.  His photo selections emphasize the human element.

He is especially proud of those photos that relate an emotion to the viewer based on an activity, its surroundings, and a greater context within local, regional or national affairs.  In all, he has thousands of negatives in boxes and these include photos that have appeared in Time, Life, Sports Illustrated and other leading publications.  Overdahl's work won acclaim for photojournalistic excellence, and he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  He believes this exhibition spans an important era in film photography.  Excepting only one enlargement, all were photographed and also developed by Overdahl,  During his career, he has not been featured in gallery shows, and he's never produced work intended to be framed for sale, which makes this island exhibit extra special.

 Many island residents may recognize Overdahl as a former Town of Washington official, a Lions Club member and a neighbor, but few may realize the breadth of his professional photographic work.  More information on Overdahl, his background and his career, will be available in the forthcoming Island Observer (available June 28th).

Please join in meeting Ron Overdahl and his wife Faith (they met as staff members of their high school year book) at the Historic Island Dairy gallery.  This inaugural exhibit is one well worth seeing.
 -  Dick Purinton


Tom B said...

We have always wondered what that building was going to end up being. If I recall correctly, it did some time as a donut house.

Richard Purinton said...

Donuts were sold there, in the early 80s, I believe, but for the most part this building has been vacant, utilized mainly for storage. (The floor was dirt, with the exception of the bakery area.) This is an extensive remodel, utilizing the original walls and the boards that were placed on the interior of the roof, and the stonework that surrounds the old walls and makes up the signature chimney, visible outside and in.