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Robert deGast's Chesapeake

Robert deGast’s Chespeake


Robert de Gast was a photographer well-known for his photographs that capture the stories of the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore, as well as his previously published books that include The Oystermen of the Chesapeake from 1970. Robert de Gast’s Chesapeake is an exhibition catalog of the Chesapeake Maritime Museum’s exhibit that displayed 80 curated photographs from Robert’s nearly 10,000 total images, with essays written by the exhibit curator and friends familiar with his work. Staying true to the original photographs, we designed the book to let the images speak for themselves by giving them lots of white space and creating interesting pairings. The book was printed as a duo-tone with warm gray and rich black to preserve and honor the photographic details, finishing off the cloth cover with a tip-on image placed by hand and white foil letters for the title.

Book Design



“Sailboats was thick as pine trees out there.” —an oysterman’s words.

Recorded by Robert deGast, 1970


“At six o’clock I was in the Pocomoke River . . . The scenery was striking: low marshes at first, and then, a few miles up the river, the first cypress trees began to appear. These are the northernmost stands of cypress in the United States . . . When I could no longer see, I reluctantly lowered my sails and carefully set an anchor in the middle of the river, which wasn’t more than a hundred yards wide here. I hung the anchor light high in the rigging and hoped that the barges and tugs which use the river didn’t travel at night. With the tide changing during the night, I needed room to swing in a circle. I looked at the chart. I was near Rehoboth ( ‘there is room’ ). I hoped so.”

Robert deGast, 1974