I was born just outside Hartford in 1971, then raised in the small farming town of Ellington, Connecticut. In the 1980s I headed up north for my undergraduate studies in Plymouth, New Hampshire, where I discovered my love of photographing the New England countryside. After my military service in the 1990s, I returned to New Hampshire to raise a family with my amazing wife, Linda, and our two children, Nick and Ashley. Here, we are never more than 40 minutes away from an adventure in either the ocean or the mountains. I love traveling all over New England, from Acadia National Park in Maine to the rolling hills of Vermont and back down to the Connecticut coast. For the past few years I’ve been hosting photo walks to share the beauty I get to see every day with others from around the world. Last October, we spent three days in Woodstock, Vermont, shooting the foliage around an 1800s farmhouse. This spring, we’re headed to Nantucket for three days to photograph that amazing coast. Lately, I’ve been pursuing a personal project by spending a great deal of time exploring the coastal side of New England. For this project, I have gone out to sea on scallop and lobster boats, documenting the stories of fishermen from the Gulf of Maine out to Jeffreys Ledge and down to the Cape and islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The story of their lives has become my passion.
Tell us about your equipment.
I am primarily a film photographer shooting on 30-year-old gear. I prefer the use and look of film and have stuck with it for almost all of my work. I like to dedicate one lens to one camera, so my current lineup is a 1989 Pentax 67 medium-format camera with the wonderful Pentax 105mm lens, a 1988 Nikon F4s with a Nikkor 50mm and a 1984 Nikonos-V underwater camera paired with a Nikkor 35mm lens. When I meter — these days I more or less estimate exposure — I use a 1964 Weston Master V, as I trust this more than the built-in meters of my aging gear. In these cameras, I shoot a variety of color film stocks but stick mostly to Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Pro 400H in 120 and 35mm formats. When a client calls for black and white, I go with either Ilford Delta 100/3200 or Kodak Tri-X 400.
On rare occasions, I’ll shoot digital with the modern Sony RX1R II, but never for professional work. This is used for family gatherings or as a pocket camera while traveling.
What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration is trying to capture the natural beauty of New England in concert with the people who live, work, and breathe these lands and waters. There are so many stories I want to uncover, document, and photograph — not just the stories of those working the sea but also the stories of the farmers doing the maple syrup harvest in Vermont or raising a rare breed of cattle in Connecticut, the corner café, and the owner of a small harbor shop. Beauty isn’t only in the photographs; it’s also in the words they share on the ups and downs of their lives and their craft. I think this adds a much deeper dimension to my photography, one that I can truly be proud of.
See more of Larose’s work at raylarose.com.
Coastal New England
Featured Photographer Ray Larose
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.