Maine Media Workshops | Student Portfolio

Yankee photo editor Heather Marcus collects some of the best photography from her class at Maine Media Workshops.

By Heather Marcus

Jun 13 2018


“Three generations of Maine farmers had worked this pasture in Brooksville, Maine. Nearby, cultivated fields of traditional vegetables and grains, a crop of government-regulated cannabis, and a new bee colony reflected continuity and change from one generation to another. When the afternoon light shone on the woodpile and on the battered wheelbarrow resting among the wildflowers and grasses, the landscape spoke of ties between the wild and the tended, between work and rest, and of the presence of family on the land over time.”

Photo Credit : Lee Ann Cafferata
In the summer of 2017, Yankee photo editor Heather Marcus headed to Rockport, Maine, to attend a weeklong photography class at Maine Media Workshops. Titled “Sense of Place,” and led by photographer Eliot Dudik, the class drew students from all over the country, who turned their cameras on Maine’s coastal landscape in search of indelible moods and moments. Some of the best work from that class was published in the July/August issue of Yankee as a photo essay titled “A Sense of Place.” Additional outstanding photographs — along with some thoughts from the students themselves — are showcased below.


Student at Bard College, originally from Wilmington, North Carolina:“For the past two years I’ve spent most of the summer at Maine Media Workshops, and returning to Rockport is always an incredibly special experience. Maine is truly a place like no other, and having this workshop as an outlet to better understand its landscape was amazing…. This summer I’ll be driving across the country with Eliot Dudik, to assist him while he works on his project ‘Paradise Road.’ We’ll be driving throughout the West and making photographs as we stop at every road titled Paradise Road along the way. Afterward, I hope to serve as Eliot’s teaching assistant as he leads the ‘Sense of Place’ workshop again.”
“In Stonington, I was rushing around looking for the right shot before I lost the light when I happened upon this miniature village. The first thing that caught my eye was the church, which had a simplicity reminiscent of Walker Evans’s early photographs of Southern churches — and which are some of my favorite images ever. Also, since much of my work from Maine revolves around embracing my role as a tourist, I felt this small village was symbolic of my experience getting to know its welcoming landscape and citizens in its accessibility and comfort.”
Photo Credit : Walker Bankson
“This is Gunner Lymburner of Brooksville. We spoke with him for a few minutes, and he showed us around the farm that he was soon to inherit from his father. I was struck by the land, particularly the tall grass with its small indentations where he had paved his own trail through the field. I wanted to place him within the transitional space that he was soon to receive from his family, and I felt that the small holes in his shirt were reflective of a tumultuous time in his relationship to the land in conjunction with the grass’s indentations.”
Photo Credit : Walker Bankson


Retired historian living in Middleburg, Virginia, and Ås, Norway: “Most days, our group climbed into a 10-seater van and explored. None of us were from Maine. Most of us had never been there before. We looked for scenes, for photographic narratives that revealed that place to us. Truthfully, I’m still thinking about what [the class] meant to me — a lot, that’s for sure.”
“These were untended lands beyond the productive fields of a three-generational family farm that grew fruit, grains, and governmentally regulated cannabis.”
Photo Credit : Lee Ann Cafferata
HEATHER MARCUS Yankee photo editor living in New Hampshire: “The characters you meet and the scenes you capture are so fleeting, and this week was about challenging ourselves to really see and capture what was in front of us in different ways…. Sometimes you may work too hard to capture something that might not be there, but other times that magic moment just happens, and if you are skilled or lucky you capture the frame. I remembered Eliot’s advice to take a moment to feel the space, let it speak to you, and you will find your shots. We rush through life, and to slow down to take the time to really create and make images that you love is a gift.”
“Definitely plenty of interesting, charming characters to be found in the Maine landscape. This Castine man was sporting a great Santa beard and an unassuming smile, and I was lucky enough to capture a very loose portrait of him as he was leaving the town docks.”
Photo Credit : Heather Marcus


Photographer living in Arlington, Massachusetts: “The coast of Maine is a place of great natural beauty, a place where people have a quirky sense of humor and work hard to keep Maine the way ‘life is supposed to be.’ Maine is a place where you can discover new things about yourself by leaving your life behind, slowing down, and taking time to look around…. The [class] was challenging, and the pace was sometimes exhausting, but I liked visiting the small towns and places along the way I might never have discovered on my own. I also really enjoyed the final night of the workshop, when we were able to see how people in other classes spent their week.”
“We stopped at a flea market by the side of the road in Midcoast Maine. This little plaque with the gun and the bunny reminded me of the quirky humor associated with Maine.”
Photo Credit : Janet Smith
“Maine is a casual and rustic place where the best way to eat lobster is on a paper tray. [At this restaurant] I liked all the décor hanging from the ceiling and on the walls, the fan in the corner — a totally unassuming place. I did not eat anything here, but I imagined that they made a good lobster roll.”
Photo Credit : Janet Smith
“I first saw these brothers fishing and then just sitting on the dock looking at the water. I don’t think they caught any fish, but it was a peaceful evening to look out at the water and be with your own thoughts.”
Photo Credit : Janet Smith


Lecturer of technical communication at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta: “[During this class] I came to realize that to communicate a ‘sense of place’ more effectively, I must look … and see … and engage with the people within a cultural setting. To that end, I moved beyond my limited field of vision to photograph not only polite landscapes and lovely botanicals, but also the authentic people and their actions that create the unique cultural aspects of a ‘place.’ The result: I fell in love with Maine. I returned home to my Southern university, entered my work in a faculty photography exhibit, and began work on a photography book that I will produce collaboratively with two colleagues.”
“I had to look no farther than a working harbor for a role model of feminine strength and beauty in this oysterwoman who kindly allowed me to photograph her unloading her haul.”
Photo Credit : Leslie Hankey


Commercial real estate lawyer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana: “During the weeklong workshop, we traveled through rural Maine and the many charming villages along the way. We were taught that Maine is more than a lobster trap, or a harbor with sailboats. It is a place where people who are not tourists work and raise families. It is a place of hope as well as abandon. I came to appreciate that Maine shares many characteristics of Louisiana — not in the climate or the landscape, but in the spirit of its people, their connection to the land, and the hurdles facing those in rural settings.”
The Outcast, Deer Isle. “I was originally drawn to the old VW because of the creative paint job. It took a walk across the street to get the mailbox and the car in the same photo, and to eliminate the background.”
Photo Credit : Randy Roussel
Morning to You. “The sunrise view from my hotel room in Camden.”
Photo Credit : Randy Roussel


Photographer from Los Angeles. Julia was the teaching assistant for the class but is also an accomplished photographer in her own right. She contributes to Lenscratch.
“Seaweed along the edges of the Bagaduce River, a tidal waterway in Penobscot.”
Photo Credit : Julia Bennett
“Gil at his home in Lincolnville.”
Photo Credit : Julia Bennett

SEE MORE: Behind the Scenes at Maine Media Workshops