Marc Abrahms (1948-2015) had a day job as a successful businessman in the insurance industry. He also had outstanding talent, initially described as a “hobby” though the word “hobby” is woefully inadequate to describe his creative genius. His business success made possible his two passions: philanthropy and his prolific and stunning photographic pursuits. His impulse toward both also came out of a common source: diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic from the tender age of five, he developed an appreciation for the beauty and fragility of life that is apparent in both his creative legacy and in his charitable activities. He was grateful for every day life gave to him, and gave back every day he could – be that through good works or the striking images he created.
“Sharing has always been the most important to me. All of my life I’ve loved to share stories, feelings, and song with the people around me. I didn’t think I’d have many years to do this, but I’ve been fortunate,” explained Abrahms. “With moments passing us by, it’s important to share, to be aware of what’s happening around us.”
Even the most cursory of looks through his catalog makes it strikingly apparent that Abrahms was very aware of the world around him and intended to share that world as he saw it. He captured landscapes, people, vehicles, buildings, waterways, dunescapes, plants and animals, color and light, often traveling far and wide to do so. Leaving behind a catalog of more than 40,000 prints, negatives, and other works, his legacy is barely scratched in this essential collection of Abrahms’ breathtaking and vivid photographs now displayed on POBA. These works reflect his zest for life and tell stories found within them, both about Abrahms and about the subjects of his photos.
Deservedly, his work is featured in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, the National Geographic and the Library of Congress, and was the subject of one-man exhibitions in Hartford, CT, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Fe. His first photographic book, Traveling Light, was published to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and its follow up Water Colors was published to assist United Cerebral Palsy of New York.
While POBA aims to keep his creative legacy alive, his philanthropic legacy also thrives. Abrahms contributed generously to numerous charities in local communities in Connecticut and throughout the US. He also gave substantially to academic institutions that promoted the study of photography as an art form. And he often threw himself personally into the actual work of the charities he founded, for example, The Partnership for Hartford’s Hungry, a program which continues to provide thousands of meals per month to the House of Bread in Hartford, CT to feed the needy. Many of these meals were cooked personally by him in his family home. In the same way that he nourished the community around him with good works like these, his creative legacy lives on with POBA and continues to nourish us.