Archive for the ‘maine’ Category

Maine Rogue Photographers Association

Still too hot to think properly.  We Mainahs are just not built for this kind of heat.  So maybe today is a good day to talk about what I think Maine really is about.

Back in 2007, Matt (my husband) and I were talking with our friend Sergei about what it really was to be a photographer in Maine.  We are all big fans of the photo site flickr, but we were frustrated that all the Maine groups on flickr were about moose and lighthouses and scenic vistas.  Now don’t get me wrong, all that pretty is a big part of why we love living here.  But Maine is so much more than that.  So we decided to incorporate the Maine Rogue Photographers Association, a flickr group dedicated to all the other parts of Maine.  We posted this as our description:

The State of Maine, located as far northeast as you can go in the USA, is incredibly photogenic. Wide open ocean in one direction, forests in another, majestic mountains in a third, it is little wonder we have so many landscape photographers in this state! And yet just out of frame is a trailer home with twenty rusting cars surrounding it guarded by an alcoholic with a shotgun. Just past the trailer is a multi-million dollar mansion owned by a New York City lawyer who stays there two weeks out of the year. Maine is a place of contradictions, where incredible beauty lives 180 degrees from utter despair. It is a place that people live because they love it here, or because they’re trapped here.

We’re Maine’s Rogue Photographers. We see what the tourists don’t see. We know there’s more to photographing Maine than landscape photography, and we’re not afraid to share it.

The group has been going for more than three years now and has maintained a sizable pool of contributors (considering the restrictions on what can be posted).  Here are a few of my favorites from the group pool:

Drake's Island

Drake’s Island by brookehartley

Howland Tannery

Howland Tannery by muncadunc

untitled by e.teel

Tahir Saleh

Tahir Saleh by Sergei Chaparin

Playground

Playground by jess_leclair

Yes, this last one is one of mine.  I mentioned before that I am a big fan of the strange and unusual and this little playground out in Machiasport certainly qualified.

I know some people find the idea of this group distasteful or even disrespectful.  I have to disagree.  I think to acknowledge only the beautiful about Maine is to do it a great disservice.  It’s like pretending the only part of a person that has value is their pretty face.  There is so much more to a person that makes them whole and the same is true with our awesome state o’ Maine.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Flea Market Finds

[Quick side note from yesterday: Thankyouthankyouthankyou to everyone who read and commented on my post yesterday!  It was so amazing to be featured on Freshly Pressed and then have all of you wonderful people respond so positively to what I’ve been up to. I really appreciate all of your comments/ideas/suggestions. I hope you stick around for more!]

I mentioned before that my husband and I recently celebrated our 4th anniversary.  As part of the celebration, we decided to drive up the beautiful Maine coast and head to the very small Canadian island of Campobello.  To get to Campobello, you go to Lubec, the eastern-most city in the United States, and just keep going.  There is a little bridge with a very nice crossing guard and then you are in Canada!  And in a whole different time zone too which is just strange.  I mean you are on one side of the bridge and it is 5:00.  On the other, it is 6:00.  It must be very confusing to live there.  Though I suppose, as with most strange things, you get used to it.

ANYwho, that was our destination.  As with any destination, part of the fun is getting there.  And we are big fans of taking our time on long car rides.  From our home, it is about a 5 hour journey.  There was just no way we were going to do it straight through.  On the way up, we stayed a night with some friends in Bangor to break up the trip.  From there, it is closer to 3 hours.  On the way back, we distracted ourselves by stopping at some of our very favorite flea markets and antique stores.  You should not be surprised to learn that I LOVE flea markets and antique stores (what is the difference between the two, you ask? About $100).  I am very lucky to have a husband who shares my fondness.  Between the two of us, we find the best stuff.  Finding awesome stuff doesn’t necessarily mean we BUY the awesome stuff.  Sometimes, just having a picture of it will satisfy my need to own the strange thing.  Like this for instance:

Lobster plate

This is one of the strangest plates I’ve ever seen in my life. At first I really thought it was a butterfly.  But then I noticed the big claws and realized I was looking at a gold lobster.  What on earth would you serve in a dish like this? Or is it purely decorative?  Either way, weird.

We found this at the Old Creamery in Ellsworth, Maine.  They have two huge floors filled with the strange and unusual.  Their collection also included this gem:

Bunny cookie jar

Personally, this makes me never want to eat a cookie again.  That thing looks waaaaaaay too likely to come alive and bite my hand off.

If you keep going down Route 1 through Ellsworth towards Bucksport, you eventually run in to the Big Chicken Barn.  It is 21,600 square feet of AWESOME.  It really used to be a chicken barn and it is now full to the brim of stuff.  The first floor is all antiques and the second floor is books and magazines.  You can get lost for days there.  It is where we found this awesome sign:

Spirituous liquors

So awesome! If only I had some place to put it (and it wasn’t silly expensive – the awesomest signs always are…).

But the best find of the day was the one we actually brought home with us.  It came from Old Stuff in Belfast, Maine.  Karna, the owner, is an old friend.  Her son went to high school with my husband.  She has a fabulous eye for the best stuff and prices things really reasonably.  She also restores and creates the most amazing lamps.  But this is what caught our eye:

mustard jar, lid closed

Isn’t he fabulous? Even better, the jar opens to reveal a little spoon for the mustard:

mustard jar, lid open

At $4, he was a total steal. And now resides quite happily in our kitchen with all the other strange and wonderful stuff we brought home from other travels.

Also, he sort of reminds me of the Prince from Katamari Damacy:

Though it is pretty clear our mustard jar came first.

Books, books and more books

I love books.

I love reading books, I love making books, I love the way books smell and feel, I love seeing the rows of book spines on my bookshelves and knowing that each one contains a whole universe just waiting for me.

The thing is my husband loves books too. As much if not more than I do. And when we moved in together, we realized that between us, we had a rather massive library.  At first, most of it stayed in boxes.  And his in his book shelves and mine on mine.  Now that we are married, all of our stuff has merged.  And the books are just EVERYWHERE.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love books.  Which is why I feel bad when we aren’t giving some of our books the love and attention they deserve.  We have reached the critical mass point where there is simply no more space for new books in our library.  Which means, it is time to do some purging.  As painful as it is, some of the collection has got to go. But where should they go? It seems silly to just donate the books when we’ve spent so much time and money amassing them.  But selling them one at a time on ebay is not really a winning proposition either.  So what to do?

How about a used book store?  Turns out a lot of places in Portland are more than full up.  One woman told me she might be able to look at my books some time in late July. Right. Then she recommended I call The Green Hand on Congress St.  Best. Suggestion. Ever.

The Green Hand

I wandered in this afternoon with two boxes of books, hoping that Michelle, the owner, would consider taking half of them.  She took them all.  AND she offered me a choice of cash or store credit.  Now, a reasonable person would have taken the money and run.  I, however, have never been reasonable.  Especially not when I saw THIS in her pile of recent acquisitions:

From the Labyrinth of Love

MUST. HAVE. PRETTY. BOOK.

So I took the store credit. And the book. And two more books besides. And I still have some credit left. So much for purging.

The strange thing about all of this is that unbeknownst to me, Michelle had just blogged about this very book on her blog for the store:

Insel Bucherei Treasure Trove

What can I say? Great minds like the same pretty books.

This book is significant to me for other reasons as well. I just finished a wonderful book binding/food/memory class with the marvelous and delightful Leon Johnson.  This little book represents a whole publishing idea – beautiful works at affordable prices.  As Michelle put it,

Insel Verlag began by exclusively printing exquisitely crafted high-cost books. However, with the start of the Insel Bucherei series in 1912, they recognized the need to produce affordable and attractive editions designed to appeal to customers with more modest financial means.

These books are still exquisitely made by modern standards.  The pages are stacked folios that are then sewed together by hand.  I bought a second book from this series.  It is slightly damaged – the spine of the book has come off.  But the book still holds together. Without the paper spine, the beautiful hand stitching that actually holds the book together is exposed.  This book will hold together for years to come even lacking a spine because its underlying structure is totally sound.  Modern paperbacks fall apart in 20 years or so (assuming they survive the first reading and are left alone on a shelf for the rest of the time).  Glue fails and the pages come away (any time a spine cracks, it is like a kiss of death).  But these books?  They are almost 100 years old and they are still totally solid (minus the odd paper spine).

I realize I’ve sort of drifted into another subject here.  Really, it all comes back to I LOVE BOOKS.  I have lots more to say on the subject, but it will all have to wait for another time. It is late and I’m sleepy and I have lots to do tomorrow.  So, g’night all.