Her Helm Flyer

Portrait Photographer Comes to Ker Place for Lecture & Book Signing

Kristin-RutkowskiOn Thursday, Mar. 7 at 6pm, Shore History will host a lecture and book signing featuring author and photographer Kristin Rutkowski. Kristin will speak about her newest book “Her Helm: Chesapeake Bay.” The beautiful 165-page fine art book is the first publication of Kristin’s long-term project highlighting and celebrating women making their way on the water.

Kristin is a magazine style portrait photographer based on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and maintains connections throughout the Maryland and DC area. Her calling through photography strongly revolves around bringing out the best in people and serving as a positive catalyst for inspiration and recognition.

“Being in front of the camera is a vulnerable place, and I want to help my clients and subjects feel comfortable so that I can show them, through portraits, what an incredible person they are,” said Kristin.

Dedicated to sharing inspiring stories of female captains, each with their own unique backgrounds and experiences, the “Her Helm: Chesapeake Bay” book and project honors these women for their resilience and determination in forging their own path in the seafaring community.

“I noticed in the maritime world that there is a prevalent stereotype, based on centuries of history, that boat captains are mostly men, not women,” Kristin said. “As someone who believes strongly in equality, I wanted to celebrate the women who are leading the way on the water.”

Kristin set out on a journey to bring “Her Helm” to life, traveling the length of the Chesapeake Bay for over two years to photograph and include as many women boat captains as possible. During her travels, she photographed over 50 women captains who set their sails on the Chesapeake Bay. Through this work, she raises the voices and highlights the lives of these captains through insightful interview and powerful portraits. The book also features the visual art, poems, and Shore stories of invited writers and artists around the Bay. Their work furthers Shore perspectives and celebrates the women who hold the Chesapeake Bay dear.

“I hope that my book encourages people to celebrate the ways our society is becoming a more welcoming place. On the water, women are making a place for themselves in an area which has historically been closed to them,” Kristin said. “This book is also an inspiration for women and girls who will value seeing role models in fields they haven’t thought about before.”

The lecture and book signing will be held at Ker Place on Mar. 7th at 6 p.m. This event is free for Shore History members and $5 at the door for not yet members. Following the lecture, there will be a book signing session with Kristin, where attendees can have their copies of “Her Helm” signed and chat with the author. Visit shorehistory.org or call (757) 787-8012 for more information. Copies of “Her Helm” and “Her Helm” tote bags will be for sale at the event.

Books are available at the Book Bin in Onley, at Local-ISH Art in Cape Charles, or can be ordered through the “Her Helm” website, herhelm.com. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD has an exhibit available highlighting the “Her Helm” project through September 2024. You can learn more about Kristin’s photography services at kristinrutkowskiphotography.com.


Mar 07 2024


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Kerr Place
69 Market St, Onancock, VA, 23417
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