Faculty member's photos on display at history center

June 15, 2009

“A Portrait of the Allegheny River,” an exhibit by John Beale, a senior lecturer in the College of Communications and former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographer, will be on display though July at the Sen. John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.

The show consists of 25 framed color images taken over 13 months along the 352-mile long Allegheny River.

First featured as a photo essay in the winter 2008 issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine, the photos won the 2008 Edward Romano Award (best of show) for photography in the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania’s Golden Quill Awards.

Beale’s photos help track the river from a trickle at its wooded Pennsylvania headwaters in Potter County to the swelling river that provides drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people, 72 miles of navigable waterway for barges and industry and a playground for boating, fishing and swimming. Along its route, the Allegheny River gets fed by the the Clarion and Kiskiminetas rivers and numerous creeks and streams until it eventually unites with the Monongahela in downtown Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River.

Beale, who grew up along the Allegheny River in Freeport, teaches photojournalism, advanced photojournalism and documentary photojournalism at Penn State. Prior to his arrival at the University, he spent 21 years as staff photographer and chief photographer for the Post-Gazette.

A member of the U.S. Senate Press Photographers’ Gallery, his work has been honored with numerous national awards, including two Sigma Delta Chi Awards, the Community Service Photojournalism Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and photo of the year by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His photos have been widely published in numerous magazines and books.

An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the History Center is the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. The 275,000-square-foot museum features six floors of long-term and changing exhibition space, including the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, a dynamic museum-within-a-museum, and the Library & Archives, an extensive scholarly resource documenting 250 years of life in Western Pennsylvania.

The History Center and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum are conveniently located at 1212 Smallman Street in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District, known for its retail food markets, unique shops, ethnic restaurants and lively nightclubs. The History Center’s exhibits and museum shop are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center is closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

  • The photo exhibit follows the river from its trickling headwater in Potter County (above) to its powerful presence in Pittsburgh.

    IMAGE: John Beale

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Last Updated November 18, 2010