Calling All Photographers

As you may know we will be shifting to Pier 13 to commemorate VE Day  and Maryland's wartime and home front contributions this coming Labor Day Weekend. We are inviting photographers, or anyone else who may want to join us, for the trip from Pier 1. This is a short trip, since its only about 5 minutes away, by car, but the ship will be going past a cool industrial area of the harbor. We consider the BROWN to be very photogenic and are pleased to find that other photographers feel the same way. Isn't it cool how you can get 10 photographers to take pictures of the same place and they all look and feel completely different?!

We asked a few photographers who've visited with us before to share some of their photographs.


This following group of photographs are from Kirsten Messmer who came on board last year to shift the ship to the cruise terminal.  Since then, she has moved to beautiful North Carolina but we can still see her great photographs on Facebook :

Photographing ships isn't really my forte and initially I was hesitant to sign up for the short trip across the harbor on the BROWN. I am glad I did! The organization from start to finish was great - even though our cars were locked in as we returned from the sail, but even that issue was resolved swiftly. Being part of a small group of photographers on the BROWN as it is tugged across the harbor is a unique experience and an excellent photography opportunity as it is possible to observe the working crew and move around the ship fining the best angles without having to negotiate crowds, being jostled along by other impatient non-photographers and generally there is more 'breathing room'. It is amazing to be able to run from one side of the ship to the other to always be near the main 'action' and capture all that's going on from the tugs getting in position, sights passing by, crew handling the ropes an all other chores. The crew was extremely friendly, very helpful and willing to explain everything and answer all our questions - particularly also below deck. Those reefers are big - puts my walk-in closet to shame....  Always up for a quick joke I was told that if you look for the kitchen as a volunteer you'll have to pay the customary beer penalty. In all the sail was a great experience - the only drawback it was too short!

This next group of photographs are from Baltimore photographer Billy McGee.  Billy had the Canon Mark III that had our Canon-shooting-ship's-photographer envious.  Take a look at his shots below:

This was my first time visiting and touring the historic JOHN W. BROWN. It was without question an interesting place to explore, taking in the rich history regarding its service during World War II. The fact that it's still a "working" ship is an added bonus. The Staff and Crew, look after the BROWN as a labor of love. I look forward to my next visit, its was most definitely time well spent!

The following gallery is from Harford County photographer Ferd Brundick:

I've been on the BROWN four times including a tour, tow, and cruise. I have a degree in mechanical engineering so my favorite place is the engine room. I also liked my visit to the radio room because my grandfather was a radioman on a battleship in WWI. I enjoy talking to the volunteers (and veterans). It's fun to explore and find interesting things to shoot. (On a side note, Ferd's black and white shot of the Chief Mates room, won Champion B & W at Harford County Farm Fair last year.  Also, bets are being placed on when Ferd will become an actual member, as he has already done photography shoots, been on a cruise, bought rivets and a gallon of paint for fundraisers!

The next gallery of shots is from Harford County Maryland photographer Walt Polley.   This is what he said about shooting on the BROWN: 

Being an older nerdy geek, the BROWN’s radio room interested me the most. The tube transmitter and receiver, and the “emergency” crystal radio receiver were my highlights. It is amazing to see 70-year old technology and know that the crew has lovingly restored everything to working order, one way or another - even if sometimes magic is required! Actually, the radio technology on the BROWN is probably at least another ten to fifteen years older, since rugged, tried and tested technology would be required. Sparks wouldn’t want a new-fangled pentode to fail when there were well-designed triodes out there for use in the radio transmitter. Other parts of the BROWN that were particularly interesting to me included the surgery - yes, bare bones but absolutely necessary, since there was no Coast Guard rescue helicopter to swoop in and medevac any injured personnel. The all-faith chapel was a quiet nook, and the scene painted on the wall reminds me of the hymn “Eternal Father Strong to Save” - which not coincidently is the “Navy Hymn” for several nations. The deep inner workings of the BROWN include the Engineering Department and never-ending maintenance and welding. Up topside, there is the Saloon and the view out the front portholes . What visit to the BROWN would be complete without including both the combat ribbons and Brownie?

Sue Izard is a member of the Central Maryland Photographers Guild and a professional photographer. She had this to say about her time on the BROWN and these pictures to share.

Had a blast last year riding on the John W. Brown, such a HUGE ship and some incredible views! It was a bit cloudy that day, but nice lighting for the close up/detail shots.

Finally, the last set is from Harford County photographer, Larraine Formica.  

Visiting the JOHN W BROWN is such an interesting experience. The history is fascinating. But what I really loved was meeting the volunteers and talking with them about what their did. There is a lot of work to keep a ship like this afloat. It wasn’t meant to last as long as it did. However, it has lasted this long because of the hard work of the American workforce at the time and the love and attention that the volunteers lavish on her.

A HUGE thank you to all the photographers that helped donate their time and helped up make this blog.  They all proved that beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, and that every visitor to the ship will leave with varying impressions of the ship and her history.


All participants will park their cars at Pier 13. The parking there is free and the Savannah and other ships will be open to the public from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. You can see our flier for more details.  Participants will be shuttled from Pier 13 to Pier 1 to board the BROWN. The last shuttle will leave Pier 13 by 8:30am.  As mentioned before, this is a short 'ride' but as a photographer, you can see the ship being moved and you will be able to see and take pictures of the crew in action.  You will also have the run of the ship (of all places open to the public) before the ship actually opens to the public.  The cost for the photo session is $40. Everyone will meet in the Saloon to sign the Guest Book and for a short safety briefing and then the fun can start!  For questions, the best way to get a quick answer about this event for photographers, is to send a private message to the BROWN'S Facebook page.  Hope to see many photographers at this event. 


Project Liberty Ship, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization engaged in the preservation and operation of the historic ship JOHN W. BROWN as a living memorial museum. Gifts to Project Liberty Ship are tax deductible.

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