Maine is beautiful.
I always knew that on some level, I suppose. New England is beautiful. And I’ve hiked the 100 mile wilderness, biked from New Hampshire to Boothbay and spent many a family vacation in breathtaking Acadia in my previous years. It’s not as if Maine was completely unfamiliar to me before now… except it was. There’s nothing quite like working for a newspaper to throw you into remote areas and put you in touch with fascinating people and stories.
I’ve already met and photographed amazing people who make amazing things.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to pull together anything that will set the standard style for this blog. I promise you, I’m trying! I’m planning shoots with a soapmaker, people who make bells and spin yarn, people who build canoes, bags and baskets. I’ve got e-mails out to blacksmiths, painters, potters, local ski makers and game designers. I’ve got solid dates with a cidery, a glassblower and a chocolatier. When this blog gets going, it will be about artisans and artists of all kinds. From Millinocket to Waterboro (places far north and south where I’ve already been reaching out) and everything in between and sideways. People and things from all over Maine.
In the meantime, here are just a few of my photographs and videos from my first three weeks here.
My first EVER assignment was a pretty popular story in the area — an Amish Charcuterie. Matthew Secich is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He insisted that we taste test every cheese and sausage he talked to us about, and even tried to send us off with bundles of his delicious products free-of-charge (we, of course, insisted on paying him for the fruits of his talent.) A man with a fascinating backstory and a real, honest and true passion for food. I would have loved to do a video on him, but the Amish really don’t like having their pictures taken. My understanding is that they believe photographs are idolatry. But some don’t mind having photos taken as long as you avoid their faces — and Matthew was of this mindset.
Another story that was right up my alley involved an outdoor artist doing a winter installation at the University of Maine Orono. Kris Sader is another one of those people whose passion just… fills the room. It glows in her whole being. It’s not every artist who can dedicate years of their life to a single project. That takes true dedication.
Long story very, very short, Kris buried bundles of fabric and plant matter in the winter garden for a whole season, dug up the fabric, and is now going to make clothes out of it for some of the rocks and trees there.
Inspired by her passion (among others I’ve met) I’m already starting my own passion projects on the job. I’m going to show you a little sneak peek on something I’m doing… I won’t tell you where or what, but I will tell you it’s a video that is going to take a few months! I’m sure some of you will be able to figure out the gist from this picture.
With that, I leave you. I’ve got a lot of artists left to e-mail, a few galleries to wander. Oh! One more cool thing I THINK I’ve found. There might be a craft fair right here in Bangor on February 13th. If somebody out there knows whether it is actually happening or not (the internet, for once, has failed me) please let me know. I’m pretty much addicted to them.