HE LEGEND OF Kosti Ruohomaa, like most artists who
die young, has grown to mythic proportions since his sudden death in 1961.
ONE STORY PAINTS the picture of a raw Maine morning.
A stranger wanders about at the edge of the sea, two cameras
slung over his shoulder. Seeing he is soaked to the bone,
a local woman asks him in for coffee and questions what he
is up to. His answer is simple. "I'm looking at the fog."
And with that, the stranger - Kosti - disappears back into the mist.
HIS LIFE WAS HAUNTED, there is a soothing calm in his
photographs. "Kosti found peace in rural life," remembers
a Life editor, "The train coming into the station, the farmer leaving the barn."
HOWARD CHAPNICK called Kosti a true artist: "The word
is thrown around with gay abandon in photography - this picture
looks like a Rembrandt, that one like a Renoir. Kosti's photographs
do not have to be compared to the work of painters. A Ruohamaa
picture looks like a Ruohamaa!"