Bob Currier is a name everyone who’s lived in Newburyport knows. He’s been a member of the NAA for over 20 years, making him one of the longest active members. He has also played a pivotal role in shaping the Newburyport we know and love today by serving on the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority for 10 years. Since the age of 16, Bob has been taking pictures of the world around him. “I knew the events I was witnessing needed to be recorded.” Bob particularly enjoyed working with film. “I find the physical negatives that I get from film have allowed me to create a rich and organized archive,” he says.
58 years after first picking up a camera, Bob has learned that photography is not only a way for him to express himself, but also a way for him to look back on the years that have gone by, “Documenting and record keeping of people, places, and buildings is important because in many cases they eventually disappear.” For new photographers looking for advice Bob says, “keep developing skill, keep moving forward.” Bob advises that although it is best to stick to one type of film, it is also important to keep up with any new camera technology as well. This advice fits perfectly with what he thinks is his personal motto, “Always adjust your life and move forward.” Before retiring, Bob worked on commercial and industrial real estate. This has helped shape who he is as a photographer, “I enjoyed photographing the buildings I worked on and around.”
Besides photographing buildings, Bob enjoys fire ground photography. Fire ground photography is just what it sounds like, taking pictures live on the scene while a building is burning. Although it can get dangerous, Bob reassured me that he has collected “lots of gear,” and with 25 years of experience, he is rarely fazed by the treacherous conditions he faces. Most of the time Bob is taking pictures everything is under control. “I’m only scared when something is going wrong,” he told me. One of those times was just this past summer when a restaurant in Portsmouth, NH burned down to the ground. “The whole building collapsed in 12 minutes, that never happens, never.”
With all these photographs, Bob has had the chance to put together an entire show exhibiting old Newburyport. The show is titled The Art of Redevelopment: a photographic retrospective from the archive of Robert M. Currier, and it is showing at the NAA April 3-15. The collection brings us back to the Newburyport of the 1970’s before the urban renewal and restoration of the downtown. Bob says that the purpose of his show is “to send a message about the importance of community involvement in thoughtful architectural and city planning.”
Bella Nadeau is a Freshman at The Governor’s Academy and the author of the NAA “Meet Our Members” articles for 2018.