Bruce Doll had just finished dinner at a downtown restaurant and was strolling along the Riverwalk when he realized a beautiful scene was unfolding before him.
“The sun was just setting, and it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime sunsets,” he explains.
Doll pulled out his phone and began snapping photos of the new Lowell Showboat which had just been placed in the water that week. When he went home to review them, he was struck by one particular image that showed the clouds tinted pink, the water rippling gently in front of the Showboat and the King Milling building up against the horizon. He thought to himself, “Wow. This is something.”
Many Lowell residents had the same reaction when they saw the image posted online, and now they can enjoy it on their wall at home too. Doll is making 16×20-inch canvas prints of the photograph and selling them as a fundraiser for the new Lowell Showboat.
Residents can order the print at Red Barn Consignments & Antiques in downtown Lowell, where a sample is on display. Costing $100, the photograph is ready to hang and comes as a museum quality Giclee canvas print. Only 150 prints will be made and each will be numbered and signed by Doll.
Lifelong Photography Enthusiast with a Love for Lowell
Even if you’re not familiar with Bruce Doll’s name, you’ve probably seen his photography. He is often found at community events with his camera in hand, and his pictures have been featured by the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, the local newspaper and here on Lowell’s First Look.
However, photography isn’t a day job – or really any job – for Doll, who works as an IT systems analyst. The Lowell resident shares his images freely with no expectation of being paid. Instead, photography is a personal passion for Doll, and one he is happy to share with the community.
“My first camera was a little spy camera I bought off the back of a comic book,” he says. In the 1970s and ‘80s, he worked for 17 years in the computer graphics research lab at the New York Institute of Technology. There, he and his colleagues worked on what was, at the time, cutting-edge animation, such as graphics for the Super Bowl. “In the old days, that was high-tech stuff,” he notes.
Doll’s boss at the lab would eventually go on to cofound Pixar, but Doll decided life in California wasn’t for him. While he jokes that he could be vacationing on his private island right now if he had headed west with his colleagues, Doll’s career choice was Lowell’s gain. Today, the resident uses his skills to not only document life in the community but also to help a number of local organizations, such as the Kent County Youth Fair.
Helping Finish the Lowell Showboat
While Doll doesn’t try to make money off his photography, when he snapped the photo of the new Showboat bathed in the sunset, he recognized its potential to help the Lowell Showboat Committee reach its final fundraising goal. After expenses, Doll is splitting the proceeds from the sale of the print with the Showboat Committee. He’s hoping to raise around $5,000 for the boat in this way.
The canvas print would make a great gift for the holidays, Doll says. “It screams Lowell,” he explains when asked what drew him to this particular image. “To me, it says welcome home.”
Prints will be available for purchase at Red Barn Consignments & Antiques on a first come, first serve basis. Since the canvas prints are being created in batches, if one is not in stock, an order can be placed with a small deposit.
Red Barn Consignments & Antiques is located at 217 W. Main Street in the historic downtown. It is closed on Mondays and open 12-4pm on Sundays and 11am-5pm on other days.