Three new photo books explore vastly different aspects of the state’s character.
By Jesse Ellison
Katy Kelleher and Greta Rybus
Kelleher and Rybus — the book’s writer and photographer, respectively — have a broad definition of the word “handcrafted.” Their smart little collection of profiles includes not just traditional makers — potters, weavers, leatherworkers, and sculptors — but also farmers, restaurateurs, lobstermen, wilderness guides, and even a seaweed harvester. The book itself is a beauty. Rybus (a Down East contributor) shoots in a style that blurs the line between documentary and portraiture — her shots of Maine creatives at work feel like intimate captured moments. Kelleher’s accompanying text is on the reverent side, but she doesn’t sugarcoat “the handcrafted life.” Readers get a nuanced look at how many Mainers make a living with their hands, along with the challenges such lifestyles can entail.
Princeton Architectural Press; hardcover, 224 pages, $39.95.
Robert Dennis and Tom Bradbury
Robert Dennis has spent some 25 years as the principal photographer for the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce, and this collection of 200 of his images reads like a love letter to the seaside southern Maine community. Lobsterboats reflected in placid waters off Cape Porpoise. Dock Square radiant with Christmas lights. Grand old houses silhouetted against sea and sky. The accompanying inspirational quotes were selected by Bradbury, who’s led the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust since 1978; voices include everyone from the Buddha to the Bushes, the town’s most famous part-time residents. Fittingly for such an affectionate tribute, proceeds from the book’s sales benefit the Trust.
Kennebunkport Conservation Trust; softcover, 174 pages, $37.
John and Cynthia Orcutt
Ten mountains higher than 4,000 feet crown Maine’s High Peaks Region, on the state’s western edge (only four others are found elsewhere in the state). Standouts include Saddleback, Sugarloaf, and Tumbledown, and John and Cynthia Orcutt’s collection shows them off in all their glory. The photos, studies in light and shadow, are paired with short essays about the region’s geography and efforts to conserve it; Senator Angus King wrote the foreword. Both Orcutts are architects (John is also a Down East contributor), but there isn’t a building to be found in this volume. In fact, the whole book contains just one shot even hinting at human presence — this one’s for nature nerds and high-country junkies.
Carrabassett Publishing; hardcover, 132 pages, $39.95.