Chesapeake Photographer JuneRose Futcher

Through Her Lens: JuneRose "JR" Futcher

JuneRose “JR” Futcher, an ILCA and Sunfish sailor, has shared her sailing photos with SpinSheet over the years, including published cover shots. In addition to being a photographer, JR has been an arts lobbyist in state and federal legislation and a professional writer. We asked her several questions about her journey in photography. Here are her answers in her words: 

I have been sailing all my life and was raised in a maritime and sailing family on the Delaware Bay and nearby Rehoboth and Chesapeake Bays. This corresponded with a progressive arts education in public schools. Many of my paintings and sculpture projects were about sailing and seascapes! I also had a dream to develop as a photographer as a woman sailor; though I was using simple cameras for many years. Having a viewpoint as a sailor gave me a direct perspective in observation and study. I have photographs of my brother’s college (Maine Maritime Academy) dinghy team at the US Naval Academy in 1983 that I treasure. 

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Chesapeake Bay photographer JR Futcher with her grant-winning photographs.

Arts teachers encouraged my subject matter of sailing. As my sailing life evolved and expanded across North America to include Texas coastal and inland waterways, I was always taking photographs and making a few drawings. I was sailing all the time on Galveston Bay and knew one day, I had to pursue an arts education as an adult home in Delaware. 

Early in the 2000s I wrote out a personal and professional goals list, and photographic arts was at the top. When I had the opportunity to finish college in my early 40s, I enrolled in a dynamic multi-media degree program at Delaware Tech. The photographic arts studies (including studying black and white photography) led me to a complete discovery as a visual artist. Fresh with a student exhibit award of a marine vessel at University of Delaware, I wrote and won my first grant in 2013. This achievement raised my profile and motivation as a professional showcase artist (we celebrated for weeks, and my very first singlehanded exhibit was a highlight). 

I have won a total of five arts grants with the Delaware Division of the Arts (funded by National Endowment for the Arts) and have curated and produced several exhibits, been juried or placed in programs, and been selected for publication. As much as resources provide, I photograph many regattas across the mid-Atlantic region and arrange assignments with the Delaware Pilotage.

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ILCA (Laser) sailboat racing photo by JuneRose Futcher

I am blessed with mentors in the arts and arts education experts in my home state and give much credit to my mother (JR, Sr.) for guiding me in many portfolio selections. My body of work is substantial, and I have also expanded into ceremonial law enforcement (that involves my family history and fallen grandfather). Plans for a book are underway. Many years ago, I was invited to teach photographic arts with at-risk youth. I am hopeful to resume artist residencies this year and train with Delaware Institute for Arts and Education. 

As I evolve as a professional, I am always making a study and observation of the environment at any moment. To tell a visual story in one or many photographs is a true art form, and it is a gift to have the confidence as an artist.

Impressions of the marine environment as a young girl and a sailor set me up for a lifetime of visual storytelling that is magical and dynamic. The study with a camera takes practice and connection (for me a deep love, intelligence and understanding) for visual impact. A fine arts professor challenged me to think about a photograph: 

“What makes a great photograph? Lighting, moment, and composition.”