Category Archives: Maine

The Abandoned House: Rockport, Maine

Outside

Outside

Haunted? Probably not. However, there is something irresistible about entering an abandoned building. Who inhabited it?  What did they do? How many people have passed through? The questions can go on. Answers are elusive yet the environment is rife with traces of the past. Often these places also show the marks of others who have visited before you:  vandalism like broken glass or graffiti, for example. When you go into a deserted house there is a chance you will discover collapsing floors or roofs.

Relics of architecture of times past such as fairgrounds, German bunkers, crashed airplane sites, grain elevators, factories, and other uninhabited architectural spaces are, I find, intensely beautiful. I feel a strong urge to explore them and thus truly gravitate toward them like a magnet. Somehow, I belong in these frozen places. Below are photographs of one small, neglected and no longer inhabited house in Rockport, Maine.

The photos were taken with my iPhone (using the Hipstamatic software) or with my Olympus OMD-EM5, on a tripod. The Hipstamatic software satisfies our general. tangible, nostalgic longings (why else develop such an app for the iPhone?); through various “lenses” and “film” you can produce different black and white contrasts, photographs that mimic Polaroid shots, tintypes, and other analogue-like photography. The photographs taken with my Olympus micro-four-thirds camera were lightly processed to convert colour into black and white  – as I wanted them to look.

I chose black and white because it lends itself to high contrast but may also be worked so that images are softer and more subtle. With colour removed, lines, shapes and light take on a more important role. Certain details in a colour image may go unnoticed or become too busy; black and white can remove these distractions. Black and white was appropriate for transmitting the nature of this place  – the extraordinary within the ordinary. It is more abstract and “symbolic” and takes you to another place and time. And, for the first time, I see my work differently when it is not in colour.

Outside

Outside

Outside

Outside

Inside Looking Out

Inside Looking Out

Inside

Inside

Inside

Inside

Inside

Inside

Inside

Inside

Inside

Inside

Fulton Street

 

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Route One, in Maine, follows the Atlantic coastline. Side by side with the water, sand, and gnarled landscape there are charming towns, scenic fishing villages, fancy oceanfront resorts, lobster shacks, and chique new restaurants that sell locally brewed beers and sustainably farmed food. Tourist brochures for Maine offer peaceful retreats and family-fun experiences;  it is a “vacationland” as the license plates of this state would have it.

Yet, Maine is as real as anywhere else. In Rockland, I was wandering the streets looking for something that would touch me and inspire photographs, when I stumbled onto Fulton Street. There, I had the opportunity to spend a few afternoons with one particular family and their friends – catching a moment of their everyday life. It was on Fulton Street that I was taken by these people to the palpable world of working families in the heart of “vacationland.” I was fortunate for this chance encounter and their willingness to let me into their lives, briefly. These photographs do not so much tell about the experience as translate it.

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

Fulton Street

 

The Millers

Roz

Roz

At the end of August I spent a week at the Maine Media Workshops and College taking a class with David H. Wells, called “The Humanistic Photo Essay.” On day two David assigned the task of going to the Windsor Fair and telling a story through our photographs. As the week continued we were given the tools to understand what makes a good photograph and story, and taught how to edit our photographs with a critical eye. Although my brain is still trying to process what I learned over the course of the week (there was much food for thought), I’ve figured out that I do not have an interest in narratives; instead I prefer images that hint at a story – at memory and emotion. I am not there yet. Not at all. But it will come.

My father took photographs of still-lifes, landscapes, and architecture. He composed his photographs carefully and waited for the right moment to shoot. I, on the other hand, know I am usually too quick on the draw (despite having slowed down to look and see) and that I often do not always take the time needed to wait for the right moment. As I look at photographs of others I realise that there is something to the idea of waiting – waiting for the right light, the right person to walk by, the right angle, etc. But there is also something to be said for place, chance, and surprise. A common thread between my father and myself, however, is that photography has made each of us curious and outgoing. Thus, my day at the Windsor Fair led me to the Miller Family — three generations of farmers who live not far from that Ag Fair. They very kindly let me, a complete stranger, into their lives for a few hours over three days. I cannot thank them enough for the following:

Charlie and Fran

Charlie and Fran

Eggs

Eggs

Group Shot

Group Shot

Lying Around

Lying Around

Mae and Roz

Mae and Roz

Mae

Mae

Scott and a Winner

Scott and a Winner

Shaking off the Soil

Shaking off the Soil

Standing Around

Standing Around

Swine

Swine

The one who LIkes to Bite

The One who Likes to Bite