SOUTH PORTLAND — While trying to find a new way to present his photography, Christian Farnsworth invented a new word: Perpendrama.

It’s a combination of perpendicular and panorama, and its definition, at least for now, goes something like this: A vertical panorama that incorporates both horizons.

Farnsworth, a 2009 graduate of the master’s program at Maine College of Art, made up the word, so he can adjust the definition as need be. Until he posts in on Wikipedia, he’s got time to play around with it.

The word captures Farnsworth’s latest photographic pursuits. He is taking pictures and documenting the geology of inter-tidal zones of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth. His images, which blend panoramic perspectives, offer the viewer a slice of the world from below and above the water.

He is showing recent examples of his multi-image compositions in an exhibition titled “Topographies” at Verbena, 103 Ocean St., South Portland. Verbena is a restaurant in the Knightville section of South Portland.

Farnsworth’s printed images combine several perspectives and viewpoints, with a goal of providing a more comprehensive perspective of the physical world.

A Peace Corps volunteer, he engaged in humanitarian documentary work for many years, taking traditional, journalistic images of people and places from his travels around the world. He felt pretty good about his work — until he presented his portfolio to his professors at MECA.

“They said, ‘OK. What’s next? We’ve seen all this before.’ “

The reaction felt a little like a slap in face, but Farnsworth used the criticism as a springboard to research and develop a system of information gathering that challenges the basic tenets of photography and finds a new way to present visual information.

Farnsworth works as a substitute teacher in South Portland and Cape Elizabeth schools, and as an adjunct instructor of photography at Southern Maine Community College.


Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: