Arthur J. Fink, a renowned Peaks Island photographer who had a long-standing connection to the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, passed away last week. He was 74 years old.
Fink died on Wednesday, but no further details were provided in a notice posted on the Jones, Rich & Barnes funeral home website. Fink revealed in a Facebook post last month that he had been given a “probable diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.”
News of his death quickly spread throughout the art community, with friends and acquaintances posting messages and fond memories of him on social media.
“I was so sad to learn that Arthur Fink has passed away,” Maine poet Katherine Ferrier wrote in a post on Fink’s Facebook page. “He was so dedicated to the communities he was a part of. Man, he liked to be in the company of artists, creators and thinkers. He had this way of asking questions that seemed to always open the doors to more questions and more attention. He has given countless dancers the gift of being seen, in the form of the thousands and thousands of photographs he has taken over the years. He was a tender-hearted and compassionate human of the highest caliber.
“It’s hard to imagine a rally in Portland without Arthur and his camera,” she wrote.
Laura Faure, who was director of the Bates Dance Festival for 30 years, described her enduring and meaningful contribution to the event.
Each summer, the festival attracted dancers, choreographers, performers, educators and students from across the country and around the world. Faure gave Fink the opportunity to take a peek inside a world that is not often seen by the public. He became the festival’s resident photographer, a position he held from 2005 to 2017. Faure said Fink took thousands of photographs.
“Arthur was very passionate about dancing,” she said Sunday night. “The whole spectrum of dance was his passion. We gave him carte blanche to access dance lessons, rehearsals and shows.
In an interview with the Press Herald in 2014, Fink said that during the festival he typically took around 10,000 photos of dancers who traveled to Lewiston to study with some of the best modern dance choreographers and teachers. He showed up at the start of the festival, then turned into virtual anonymity.
“I walk into the studio and most of them barely see me,” he told the newspaper. Each night, Fink posted photos he had taken during the day, allowing the dancers to see themselves as he saw them. Faure said he put the photos on the walls of the Fireplace lounge in New Commons on the Bates College campus.
“It was the coolest thing he ever did,” she recalls. “He has developed an incredible archive of photos from the festival.”
“I feel like I’m a bit of a journalist. I have access to it, and it’s a story I want to tell. And it’s the story of dance that you don’t see, ”Fink told the Press Herald. “You see the beautiful creation, the costumes and the lights, and you don’t notice it’s two guys that stumbled around and said, ‘There’s something interesting in there. Let’s work on it.
“It is a deeply spiritual experience. Being in the studio while the dance is being created is like being in a delivery room while children are being born.
Faure said she will be remembered Fink for being a strong supporter of the dance festival, as well as an extremely bright, generous and insightful person.
Kirk Read met Fink about 20 years ago and the two have become friends. Read, a French teacher at Bates College, also served on the board of directors of the Bates Dance Festival, but the two got to know each other through a spiritual connection. Read and Fink were both long-time members of the Portland Friends Reunion, where members of the Quaker faith met monthly to worship. Read said Sunday’s ZOOM virtual meeting was in memory of Fink.
“Hearts were heavy today. There has been a wave of love and heartbreak for this incredible man, ”Read said in an interview on Sunday night.
Read said Fink was the clerk of the recording, using his skills as a word maker, his gift for language, and his incredible ability to discern the truth to good effect.
“Sunday’s meeting was very emotional. Arthur was deeply respected and loved, ”Read said.
Dinah Minot, executive director of Creative Portland, said Fink served on the board for nine years.
“In public forums, he never hesitated to raise his hand. Her kind spirit and insightful comments made us all think about the common good and be proactive in advocating for the arts, ”Minot said in an email. “Arthur was a gentle giant with a beautiful, compassionate soul. He lived in the present moment and he was a generous lover of life. He will be sorely missed.
In a Facebook post on March 1, her birthday, Fink shared the bad news about her health with her friends.
“My birthday, March 1, was quite strange. The first thing I received was a probable diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, ”he wrote.
Fink’s website provides an overview of his background and interests. He describes himself as a consultant with a degree in physics from Swarthmore College and a graduate degree in computer science from Harvard.
“When someone asks, ‘Who is Arthur Fink?’ the answer is that I am a consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator who helps my clients gain insight and clarity through a thoughtful and intentional process. I strive to inspire clients as they take on their most important work. “
Americans update their closets as the pandemic emerges