Spied in Vermont: “I Spy” Photography in New Exhibit

Shelburne Museum features new exhibit by Walter Wick, photographic artist behind popular books

Walter Wick, the photographic artist behind the popular "I Spy" and "Can You See What I See?" books, is the subject of a new exhibit at Shelburne Museum.

"This is of interest to all ages," Wick told New England Cable News, describing the exhibit opening Saturday. "It no longer seems juvenile now that it’s in a museum setting."

He said "juvenile," because he’s famous for children’s books. The Connecticut native's titles have sold millions of copies worldwide. Those books ask young readers to find things hidden in their pages, or to follow riddles and piece together secrets about picture stories.

Shelburne Museum is exhibiting both large scale photographs from some of those books, as well as several of the intricately-crafted models used to create photos.

"Everything is designed and built in such a way that we have hiding places [in the models]," Wick said.

Asked if he believes if the "art" in his puzzles lies in the set building or in the photography, Wick responded, "That's a very, very good question. I'd say it's in the photography because that's the end product."

Shelburne Museum director Tom Denenberg said he is really excited about what the exhibit asks of children. They must stop and closely study the images, not interact with them as they may with photos on smartphones or tablets, where with quick swipes of their fingers, they can quickly zip through photos without paying much attention to their content.

"That process of close observation and slowing down is where learning takes place and where real visual literacy comes into play," Denenberg told necn. "We live in a digital era. We talk about kids these days as being 'digital natives,' where the rest of us are 'digital immigrants.' But what we love about this work is how it really repays very close examination."

Shelburne Museum's Walter Wick exhibition is on view through early July.

"I hope they come away with a lot of dialogue; a lot of discussion," Wick said of museumgoers.

Click here to learn more about visiting Shelburne Museum.

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