The Luminous River

The Susquehanna Art Museum presents Luminous River by John Pfahlon view in the main gallery Friday June 10 – Sunday September 18, 2016. This collection of photographs documents the course of the 464 mile long Susquehanna River from its origins in Cooperstown, New York and Carrolltown, Pennsylvania to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay.

I became captivated with the Susquehanna years ago while driving from my home in Buffalo to Washington, D.C. The highway follows the river for about fifty miles between Shamokin Dam and Harrisburg – fifty miles of constantly changing river views. Cutting through five mountain ridges, spotted with wooded islands large and small, and featuring wide glassy surfaces interspersed with riffles and rapids, the Susquehanna appeared to be a condensed catalog of classic river landscapes. The light on that first occasion, and on many subsequent visits, was transcendent. The river seemed to soften the air through which it flowed, conjuring up tones of 19th century American landscape painting.”

-John Pfahl


John Pfahl (American, 1939 – ) studied art at Syracuse University, receiving a B.F.A. in 1961 and a M.A. from the School of Communications in 1968. His position in photography has been one of both a celebrated artist and an important educator. Pfahl taught photography for over decade at the Rochester Institute of Technology, educating many contemporary photographers and has served as a longtime adjunct professor in the Visual Studies department of the University of Buffalo. In 2009, he was the Honored Educator of the Year by the Society for Photographic Education. Other honors include two National Endowment for the Arts, Photographer’s Fellowships.

Pfahl’s working process tends to involve the creation of a series of images that combine the conceptual and the perceptual with the intention to comprehend our interventions with the landscape of the natural world.

His work is in numerous prominent collections, including: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, George Eastman House, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Museum of Modern Art, Center for Creative Photography, Princeton University Art Museum, among others.

Plan Your Visit

Exhibition Details

Date: June 10 – September 18, 2016

Venue: Lobby Gallery

Exhibiting Artist: John Pfahl

Sponsored by: Harrisburg University

Museum Preview Opening

Thursday, June 9, 2016
5:00 – 7:00 pm
View Event

Third in the Burg

Friday, June 17, 2016
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Free Admission
View Event