Photographic exhibit at Lamar Soutter Library goes 'Behind the Mask'


Harrison G. Ball, MD, is pictured here (left) with Michael Aronson, MD
Harrison G. Ball, MD, is pictured here (left) with Michael Aronson, MD, one of the Behind the Mask project subjects, and the resulting photograph.


Steely determination, unwavering focus and gritty attentiveness: Such are the expressions found on the faces of surgeons at work in the newest art exhibit at the Lamar Soutter Library, “Behind the Mask Project and other photographs, images by Harrison G. Ball, MD.”

The latest installment of the library’s Artist in Residence Series, this exhibit features a collection of 12 images that intimately reveal the steadfast concentration of surgeons in the operating room. “I wanted to capture the dedication, skill and intensity of my colleagues in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UMass Memorial Medical Center,” said Dr. Ball, professor of radiation oncology and obstetrics & gynecology. “All of the photographs in this Behind the Mask project were taken in the operating room using existing light, so that the surgeons were not distracted.”

The complete exhibit, which also includes a variety of landscape, wildlife and travel images, is the seventh for the Artist in Residence Series this year and will be on display through Tuesday, Nov. 23, on the first floor of the library. It is also Ball’s first. “I never thought I would be displaying these images in this way,” he said. “I took these photos because the subject interested me and, at the most, I thought I would put them together in a book to give to my colleagues.”

Ball’s interest in the medium—which included developing his own prints in his at-home darkroom—was first piqued more than 40 years ago. However, a budding career as a gynecologic oncologist and a growing family took priority at the time. So, it wasn’t until 1998, when he received his first digital camera as a gift, that he was able to develop his interest into a full-blown passion. “Since then I’ve taken a number of online courses,” said Ball. “I also try to attend a photography workshop each year, which allows me to spend four or five days with other photographers and to learn new things.”

Prior to joining UMass Medical School in 1997, Ball served as a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Tufts University Medical School. He is a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American College of Surgeons, and is a member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and Obstetrical Society of Boston. He was the director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at UMass Memorial Health Care, UMMS’ clinical partner, from 1997 to 2009.

For more information about the Artist in Residence Series and other events at the Lamar Soutter Library, visit To see more of Ball’s images, visit

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