Dorothy Kerper Monnelly speaks for the landscape through her photographs and also through her conservation advocacy. Her many years living in the midst of the Massachusetts Great Marsh culminated in the 2006 publication of her critically acclaimed book of black and white landscapes, "Between Land and Sea: The Great Marsh" (George Braziller Inc.), now in its second edition (Marquand Books, 2019) with updated text and a foreword by Terry Tempest Williams. The book won praise from both the fine art and conservation communities, and the large-format black and white photographic essay has introduced many to the unique beauty of a fragile landscape and rich ecosystem of the Great Marsh.
In “For My Daughters” (Marquand Books, 2012), her second book, Monnelly paired her photographs of the natural world with her mother’s poetry, creating a dialog between photo and poem, mother and daughter, time and place.
“Dorothy Kerper Monnelly frames her images for maximum abstract effect, surgically cutting away the extraneous including reference to a horizon line, and often anything that might indicate scale. “—Arthur Ollman, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University and founding director of The Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego.
“waterforms”, (Verlag Kettler, 2016), is her third book. “waterforms” the title to be used as a noun or verb. This collection addressing the power of water in its many forms spans several decades of her most important and intimate work.
From 2013 through 2016, Monnelly’s photographs traveled to six museums across the US along with Ansel Adams and Ernest H. Brooks ll in an exhibition entitled “Fragile Waters”. This exhibit was a photographic testament to the fragile and precious quality of our water resources. In 2012, ten of Monnelly's black and white photographs from her Ice Pattern Series were on exhibit at Photo Vernissage 2012 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Legendary naturalist Edward O. Wilson called Monnelly “the Ansel Adams of the wetlands.” In her introduction to the Great Marsh book, Jeanne Falk Adams, former CEO of the Ansel Adams Gallery, writes: “I find myself responding emotionally and know the photographs touched me… there is a difference between being clever and being great."
In addition to her widely published, award-winning marsh photography, Monnelly has photographed extensively in the lava fields of Hawaii, the California desert, in Iceland, and in Maine, where she was artist-in-residence at Acadia National Park. Monnelly’s large-format gelatin silver prints are in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., The Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL, The Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, VA and the Massilon Museum of Art, OH and also are held in numerous private collections. Her photographs have been exhibited at photola, Camera Obscura, Co, Benham Gallery, WA, Panopticon, Boston, MA, and others. She has shared and discussed her photography at numerous locations including Photo LA and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.
Her photographs are included in the upcoming exhibitions “Vital Waters”, curated by Jeanne Falk Adams at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, Pueblo, CO as well as a two person exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA, opening in June 2021.
“Monnelly . . . beautifully captures the spacious tranquility of her subject . . . but her eye extends beyond nature documentation to more painterly, abstract visions: the grainy rhythms of wave-washed sand at Crane Beach and huge tree shadows falling across partly melted and powdery snow.” –Publishers Weekly
“She shows me the uncommon in the common, the extraordinary in the ordinary, the universe in the pattern.” –Thoreau scholar J. Parker Huber
“As a photographer, Monnelly has a rare sense and perception of what I think of as the thoroughness of place, knowing the Great Marsh and its nuances intimately, much as did Ansel Adams the Sierra Nevada and his beloved Yosemite National Park.” —Jeanne Falk Adams, Ansel Adams Gallery