Photos of the Year
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Photos of the Year
Our photojournalists traversed every corner of Maine in 2014, traveling to Fort Kent to cover sled dog racing and to the Pleasant Point and Indian Township reservations for a major series on the Passamaquoddy. They documented news events ranging from Maine’s role in the Market Basket dispute to this year’s midterm and state elections. They rose at dawn with a milkman, witnessed the joys and heartbreak of Little League, and watched immigrants become U.S. citizens. Our photojournalists were there for every moment, capturing the stories of Mainers one frame at a time. This collection showcases the year’s best work by our staff.

MAINE THROUGH OUR EYES JAN. 2 - FEB. 28 at the Lewis Gallery, Portland Public Library. Join us at one of our free photos of the year talks.
JAN 16 - Tips, tricks and technology // JAN 23 - The long-term project // FEB 20 - The photography of "Unsettled" - View info & RSVP

PHOTO BY Gregory Rec
Maxwell House, 5, hits a wave as he is helped through the surf at Gooch's Beach by volunteer Ian MacPherson during Special Surfer Night. House has ADHD and Asperger's syndrome, says his mother, Laurie House. "He loves the water," she says. "Water and speed – does it get any better for a kid?" Nearly 100 children with disabilities took part in the surfing outing, which was organized by Aquaholics Surf Shop in Kennebunk. Tuesday, June 17, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I made this photo using a GoPro Hero camera as 5-year-old Maxwell House headed back out through waves at Gooch's Beach in Kennebunk, with the help of Ian MacPherson, during Special Surfer Night. I used the GoPro to take the photo because it has a waterproof case, which allowed me to place it in the water and in the breaking waves. Normally we use GoPro cameras to shoot video, but the newer GoPro cameras have excellent still camera shooting modes, which is what I used to get this photo. House was very excited to be in the water on a surfboard and he made dozens of trips in on waves and back out again. I photographed him for about 10 minutes and shot about 200 frames in that time. Because of the unpredictable nature of shooting with a GoPro (because we can’t see what we’re shooting), making that many frames helped to insure that I would have a unique photo. I like this photo because of the joy on Maxwell’s face and the splashes of water frozen in time.
PHOTO BY Derek Davis
Massabesic teammates react as a goal in the fifth overtime period gives them a hard-fought win over Cheverus in the girls lacrosse Class A state championship. Saturday, June 21, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I made this photo of Massabesic girls lacrosse team players celebrating from the sidelines as their team scored the winning goal in the fifth overtime period of the Class A state championship. I positioned myself to focus on the sideline players because I wanted to capture a unique view of the pinnacle moment of the game. Since the game had gone on for so long, with many improbable comebacks, I knew that the players on the sidelines of whichever team scored would erupt in celebration. I think the photo is successful because it translates the intense emotional atmosphere of the game and tells the story of the struggle and ultimate victory.
PHOTO BY Derek Davis
Becca Garland comforts her neighbor, Youna Karim, 12, during a vigil for the Smith family at RiverView apartments in Saco, while Joel Smith's father, Steve Smith, covers his face. "I was her best friend here," Garland says, speaking of Heather Smith, one of the victims in a murder-suicide. "We did everything together. We had a barbecue on Saturday night and I kissed her and told her 'I love you and I will see you tomorrow.'" Tuesday, July 29, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I took this photo at a vigil the day after a woman and her three children were shot and killed by the woman's husband, father to two of the children, in a murder/suicide. I focused on a young girl being comforted by her neighbor during the vigil as the father of the shooter covers his face. I chose to use a telephoto lens to capture this photo mainly to be respectful to the mourners and to give them some space, but also to help separate the background and direct the attention to the two neighbors. The photo is successful because it shows an entire community deeply affected by tragedy.
PHOTO BY John Patriquin
Meat department employee Robert Barclay cleans empty shelves at Market Basket in Biddeford as a management dispute raged within the supermarket chain. The six-week conflict culminated in a virtual standstill at 71 stores in New England and included employee walkouts and customer boycotts. Monday, July 21, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· This was the start of a big story. I was sent to the Biddeford store and didn't see anything out of the ordinary outside. With the blessing of the store manager, I walked the aisles, spotting a few shoppers and a depleted produce section. I made a few images there, then continued around a corner to catch this employee cleaning a vast and nearly empty meat section. My biggest challenge was balancing the different light sources. Thank goodness for Photoshop.
PHOTO BY Gabe Souza
Lapinia Loding, originally from South Sudan, proudly displays her Certificate of Naturalization after becoming a United States citizen along with 85 others from a host of different countries at a ceremony at The University of Southern Maine's Hannaford Hall. Each newly naturalized citizen receives a certificate as proof of citizenship, and many gather to pose for photos with the flag of their new country, the United States of America. Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· Naturalization ceremonies are usually quite visual, but once you’ve covered one or two of them it's very easy to come away with the same picture. This picture was actually taken after the ceremony was over. People were milling around outside of Hannaford Hall at USM, posing for pictures with an American flag. I wasn’t feeling great about the photos I had and was on the lookout for a good detail that could help tell the story. That’s when I was drawn to Lapinia Loding from South Sudan, whose colorful traditional garb caught my eye. Looking closer, I saw her rings and the texture of her hands and knew this would make a good picture. I think it works because it really tells the story in one frame.
PHOTO BY Gregory Rec
Genevieve Kurilec McDonald covers a container of baitfish aboard her boat off the coast of Stonington. Kurilec McDonald has been lobstering for 10 years, six as a sternman and four as a captain of her own boat. She just bought a bigger boat, the Hello Darlin' II, in August. She is the Down East representative on the Lobster Advisory Council and serves on the Maine Commercial Fishing Safety Council. She is also a full-time student at the University of Maine in Orono, taking online courses through the Division of Lifelong Learning. Monday, September 22, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I climbed atop the cab of the boat to make this photo of Genevieve Kurilec McDonald, a lobsterman from Stonington, while she organized bait bins. The elevated perspective shows her and her boat in their environment. Normally when we are photographing fishermen it is difficult to show a wider shot of them in their element because we’re typically aboard the same boat as they are. Climbing aboard the cabin allowed me to put a little distance between myself and Kurilec McDonald.
PHOTO BY Carl D. Walsh
Ben Rooney, co-owner of Wild Folk Farm in Benton, sorts rice seedlings before planting a small paddy to test the viability of growing rice in Maine. If the test is successful, Rooney and his partner, David Gulak, plan to expand the operation into a commercial crop, which would be the first of its kind in the state. Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· This photograph was shot with a wide-angle lens, very close to the subject. I often use this lens choice and vantage point to emphasize a particular part of the image, in this case, the bare feet with pants rolled up. These elements communicated that this man was serious about his endeavor, and was ready to literally plunge feet first into the mud (and compost) to make it happen. My decision to not include the entire subject was twofold: First it brought greater emphasis on the elements mentioned earlier, and second, it produced a cleaner and stronger composition.
PHOTO BY Shawn Patrick Ouellette
Don Gean peers inside a room at the old jail in Alfred, where the York County Shelter Program got its start years ago. Gean plans to retire in April after three decades at the helm of the program. Tuesday, February 25, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· As we were walking around the new buildings of the York County Shelter Program, Don Gean was telling us how much the program had grown over the years. We decided to go back to where it all began at the old jail in Alfred. Gean took us from room to room and shared stories about the people who used the shelter in the past. I walked ahead of Gean and positioned myself in a room so I could see his expression as he walked in. He paused in the doorway and his face lit up as he peeked in. His expression, along with the textured walls and nice available light, are why I like this photo.
PHOTO BY Gabe Souza
An antique truck steers past the Custom House in Eastport early in the morning. Some leaders and residents of the nation’s easternmost city – and elsewhere in Maine – took steps to retaliate against a young attorney named Don Gellers when he began to represent the Indians in the mid-1960s. Prejudice against the local tribe, the Passamaquoddy, was common in the area, and came to a head when five white hunters from Massachusetts were accused of murdering Peter Francis, a member of the tribe, in 1965. Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· This photo is part of "Unsettled," a 29-part series chronicling the triumphs and tragedies of the Passamaquoddy Indian tribe in Maine. I had decided to photograph part of the series with a homemade pinhole camera (made with a lens cap with a hole drilled in it, covered by a piece of thin aluminum, which was then pierced with a needle) to try and give it a sense of timelessness. I was walking around downtown Eastport early in the morning when I spotted this old Dodge truck sitting on the main road. Sitting still it didn’t make an interesting photo, but I knew that at some point a person would come out to move it. When he did, I was ready. The pinhole requires shooting at a very slow shutter speed to allow enough light to expose the image. So by panning the camera at the same speed as the truck, I was able to create an image in which the truck is sharp and the old Custom House is slightly blurred. I think this image works because it creates a sort of timeless feel, as if it could’ve been taken in the 1940s or '50s.
PHOTO BY Jill Brady
Portland Fire Lt. Dean Berry of Scarborough and his wife, Christa, weep as the casket of Portland Fire Capt. Michael Kucsma is brought out of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland following his funeral. Kucsma was 43 years old when he suffered a heart attack while scuba diving. Saturday, June 21, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I knew I had many photos telling of firefighter brotherhood, but at the end of the funeral I felt I needed a shot to illustrate the sadness and emotion of the event, and scanned the crowd to see if there was something more personal. I saw this couple embracing and quickly turned to capture the moment. It is never easy pointing my camera at people who are grieving, but I felt this photo would tell the story of how Kucsma had touched the lives of those who knew him. This personal angle, I felt, would complete the story in photos.
PHOTO BY Shawn Patrick Ouellette
Local brewer Shonee Strickland cleans the conditioning tanks at Run of the Mill Brew Pub in Saco. “I like the idea of being able to create something and enjoy the creation afterward,” she says. Strickland is a Biddeford-based brewer looking to open her own business. She has been brewing beer for six years. Tuesday, March 18, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· While photographing Shonee Strickland for a story on women working in Maine’s booming craft beer industry, I started by making all the usual and expected photographs – Strickland posing for a portrait in the brewery, inspecting samples of beer, etc. Then before leaving I asked her what she would be working on if I wasn’t there. She said she would be mostly cleaning, an important but less glamorous part of her job. That didn’t sound too exciting, but then she also mentioned she would have to put on a raincoat and climb into the conditioning tanks to clean them. So I stuck around and took a less expected photo.
PHOTO BY John Patriquin
Denise Dyer reacts after arriving home to find that fire had destroyed her two-story house at 1055 Chadborne Road in Standish. At right is Standish fire chief Brent Libby. Friday, March 7, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I heard the call from a scanner and drove toward the scene of a house fire. As I drew nearer the roads were blocked, so I looked to adjoining property for access. A neighbor was watching from his front porch and allowed me to join him. The fire, for the most part, had been extinguished. I was watching the fire chief leave when he met a distraught woman I later identified as the homeowner. She was very emotional, and the chief very consoling toward her. I made many images of them together and this one stood out.
PHOTO BY Amelia Kunhardt
Charles Norman Shay, 89, photographed in his Old Town home, had been a private in the U.S. Army when he fought in the World War II D-Day invasion at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. Shay, a Penobscot Indian, is preparing to return to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion that began the attack on German-occupied western Europe. Tuesday, June 3, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· Charles Shay himself is the reason this portrait succeeds: He is a warm man, soft-spoken but direct, who makes unflinching eye contact. At age 89, he has a long, thoughtful perspective on life. He does not waste words. Every sentence counts with him, and I could have listened to him for hours. This was the first time I had had the privilege of meeting anyone who had been at D-Day – one that I will long remember, as I’m not likely to meet many more people who were on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944.
PHOTO BY Shawn Patrick Ouellette
Barbara DeWaters' children hold her hands as she lies in a hospital bed in a screened in porch at her family's camp in Falmouth the day before she died. As difficult as it was to witness their mother's death, the DeWaters siblings say the experience was made easier and more meaningful by Hospice of Southern Maine, a nonprofit agency that provides end-of-life care in Cumberland and York counties. Tuesday, August 12, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· While working on the final story of "The Challenge of Our Age," an emotional, nine-part series that took more than a year to complete, I found myself in a small, enclosed porch with a family saying goodbye to their 92-year-old mother. This story was unlike many of the other stories, where I had time to get to know the family and re-visit them until I had all the photographs I thought needed. This time around I only had a few minutes to introduce myself to some of the siblings before they began to say their goodbyes. They were very hospitable and welcomed me into their home. I tried not to intrude as I made photographs and video in what was a very quiet room. At one point the children were all holding their mother's hand and whispering to her. I focused on the hands. I only made a few images from this scene; even with the camera set on a quiet mode the occasional click sounded too loud for the moment. DeWaters died the next morning.
PHOTO BY Gordon Chibroski
Laura Williams, a worker at Broadturn Farm in Scarborough, carries a load of cut foxgloves to the flower workshop, where they will be placed in water. June 23, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I've always enjoyed going to Broadturn Farm in Scarborough. The owners' friendly demeanor, holistic philosophy and organic farming practices give me warm feelings about our past heritage and farming traditions. When I saw the sunbonnet on the worker who was picking flowers, I waited for the proper moment to capture an image I thought would reflect the past as well as highlight the present renaissance of organic practices among Maine's young farmers. As she walked toward and past me I hoped one of the many images I was shooting would achieve my vision. I was very fortunate to be successful. It is one of my all-time favorite images in my past 50 years of making photographs.
PHOTO BY Gabe Souza
Jim Pastor hops into his 1961 Chevrolet milk truck just after four in the morning at Harris Farm in Dayton after picking up a few cases of milk for his home delivery route in Biddeford/Saco. Pastor came to Maine after working as a milkman in Southern California for more than 30 years. Tired of the traffic and overcrowding, he moved to Dayton with his wife, Sherri – whom he calls "Sherri Dairy" – for a quieter pace of life. Despite his original intentions, Pastor's business has grown so quickly he's looking at adding help to allow him to complete his routes. Friday, July 4, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I made this photo as we were leaving the Harris Farm in Dayton. I wanted to emphasize the time of the day Pastor works, and as we were pulling into the farm I could tell the pre-dawn light was starting to come up. After shooting for a little bit inside the dairy as he loaded milk into his truck, I ran outside and waited with my wide angle for him to climb into the truck. Thankfully there was just enough light in the sky to convey that sunrise was around the corner. I think the photo works because it conveys a lot of necessary information, but is also pleasing with its deep blue and red tones.
PHOTO BY Gabe Souza
Traditions and trials have been a part of Indian life in Maine for as long as members of the Passamaquoddy tribe, like this elder at Indian Township who still wears his hair in the traditional way, can remember. Their ancestors found sustenance in this corner of the world for at least 13,000 years, adapting as eastern Maine turned from tundra to forest. They hunted and fished on land that shaped their lives, right up until outsiders came and took much of it away. Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· This photo was made with a Passamaquoddy tribal elder at his camp on Long Lake on the Indian Township reservation. I had already taken quite a few photos from around the camp and the shore of the lake. I thought I was done, but still had my camera with a 50 mm lens on it just in case something happened. As we were walking back toward the camp from the lake, I noticed the man's ponytail and liked the subtle composition and mood of the moment. I fired off a few frames, and it turns out this image became the face of the "Unsettled" series. I think the photo works because it delivers a lot of information in a very simple composition. It quietly speaks to who the person is, and worked with the story because at the same time it didn’t identify just one person. It stood for more than just an individual.
PHOTO BY Whitney Hayward
Kelly Nelson, a server at Piccolo restaurant in Portland, has a squid tattoo on her bicep and shoulder that extends down to her wrist. "I've always been a Cephalopod enthusiast," Nelson says. Tattoos are becoming less taboo in the workplace, though many who work at restaurants in Portland say tattoos have been pervasive in their industry for a very long while. Thursday, October 2, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· When making portraits, especially in a staged situation where I'm working with lights, I like to start a casual conversation as I begin to work, just to make the subject more comfortable with the idea of being photographed. I asked Kelly about this tattoo's history, and as she was talking, she adjusted her sleeve to show the tattoo as it extends up her shoulder. I thought her body posture and expression were interesting, and took this frame before I posed Kelly for the "formal" portrait. To me, the image works because her gesture and expression are genuine. I think for most people (who aren't career professional models) it's difficult to be posed like this and have it seem like a real moment. Sometimes I get lucky with a picture that's something unscripted, and works visually.
PHOTO BY Whitney Hayward
Neighbors watch as 25 Greene St. in Biddeford burns. More than 100 firefighters were called to the five-alarm fire. No injuries were reported to any of the residents of the apartment building. Sunday, November 23, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I arrived in Biddeford before crews closed the surrounding streets, so I was able to get close to the portion of the apartment building where firefighters were concentrating their efforts. After photographing the firefighters working to put out the blaze, I looked around and realized it seemed as if every person in Biddeford had come outside to watch the fire burn. I wanted to photograph the spectators, but didn't want to stray far from my position near the building, because it seemed possible the structure could collapse from the extensive damage. Walking through the crowds that had lined up around the caution tape, I saw residents watching behind the glass of their windows and doors from buildings across the street. I made multiple frames of this particular scene, and while I was photographing, fire broke through the roof of 25 Greene, illuminating the glass on the right. I think the frame works not necessarily because of something I did in framing or composition, but because as a viewer, I can feel disbelief in this picture. I can see the devastation of the resident on the left, and I also feel what it would be like to be a child in my pajamas, clutching a flashlight, watching a neighbor's home engulfed in smoke and fire. It's a kind of shared experience that both groups of subjects are having in this frame, even though they're separated by different apartment units. That shared experience is something I hoped readers of the paper would feel, too, and it's why I think the photo works.
PHOTO BY Gabe Souza
Zordan Holman of Cheverus lets out a yell after catching a long touchdown pass from quarterback Isaac Dunn (not pictured) at the end of the first half of a high school football game at Thornton Academy. The Trojans jumped out to an early lead, but the Stags fought back. Holman's touchdown helped energize Cheverus, sparking a comeback that would eventually lead to victory – but not before the teams battled through two overtimes, ending in a 48-41 Stag victory. Saturday, October 11, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· It was toward the end of the first half and Cheverus was driving down the field. Not wanting to miss a potential touchdown, I positioned myself in the near corner of the end zone even though the ball was still about midfield. Cheverus is much more of a running team than a passing team, so I was focused near the line of scrimmage with a 400 mm telephoto lens, expecting a handoff to the running back. But I always prepare for the possibility of any play, and when I saw the quarterback drop back and look toward my side of the field, I quickly photographed him throwing the ball, then immediately dropped the long lens and picked up my shorter 70-200 in anticipation of the catch. Turns out Holman ran right in front of me, and while I did photograph the catch, the much better moment was when he let loose a yell in celebration as the score brought the Stags back into the game. The photo has the feel of a big-time game to it with the packed stadium in the background and the emotion displayed by Holman.
PHOTO BY Gabe Souza
Dogs belonging to Keith Aili of Ray, Minnesota, rest along the road near the Allagash checkpoint of the Can Am Crown 250-mile International Sled Dog Race. The Allagash is one of the final checkpoints before mushers and their teams of canines complete the trek through the wilderness. The elements can be grueling, with temperatures hovering anywhere from 10 to 30 degrees below zero, and little access to aid in remote sections of northern Maine and Canada. Sunday, March 2, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· This photo was made as a team of sled dogs was pulling into the Allagash checkpoint near the end of the Can Am sled dog race through northern Maine and Canada. Logistically it was difficult to capture. The temperature hovered around 30 below zero and I kept having to duck into Two Rivers Lunch – the lodge that served as the checkpoint – just to stay warm. I was constantly changing my camera batteries, keeping fresh ones warm underneath my jacket because the cold zapped all of their power in minutes. Race officials tracked the progress of all the teams, which allowed me to jump outside just before Aili’s team came in. It was pitch black outside, but from a distance I could see Aili’s headlamp lighting up his dogs. As he came closer, the headlamp backlit the steam rising from the breath of the dogs and gave the scene a dramatic feel, and just enough light for me to make the picture. I think the photo works because it captures just how cold and dark this race can be.
PHOTO BY John Ewing
A man trudges up Smith Street in Portland through the blowing snow. Wednesday, February 5, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I had pulled over after spotting the colorful buildings on Smith Street at the base of Munjoy Hill in Portland blurred by swirling snow. I was hoping for something or someone to give the photo a human component when a pedestrian appeared, climbing the hill from Kennedy Park. It was this balancing element that made a stronger photograph. I waited about 15 minutes for everything to come together, but it was worth the wait.
PHOTO BY Gregory Rec
Excited supporters take photographs and reach out to greet President Barack Obama after he spoke at a rally in Portland for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the Democratic candidate for governor. Thursday, October 30, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I made this photo using a telephoto lens while standing on the stage where President Barack Obama had spoken during a rally at the Portland Expo for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who was running for governor. It was rare access for the Press Herald – we don’t always get inside the White House Press Corps areas when presidents come to town. That access allowed me to be behind the president as he greeted people and to have the higher vantage point from the stage, enabling me to see more of his supporters than I could have had I been at ground level. For me, the range of expressions on people’s faces is what makes this photograph successful.
PHOTO BY Whitney Hayward
Jim Stewart adjusts his troll costume before the Field of Screams haunted house event in Old Orchard Beach. "I'm a community activist, and I love giving back to the community through events like this," Stewart says. The haunted attraction, in its second year, raises money for community events in Old Orchard Beach. Friday, October 17, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I was feature hunting for something interesting in Old Orchard Beach, where I live, and saw a sign for a haunted house that I had passed countless times on my way to work. Realizing the haunted house opened that evening, I decided to drive up and see if organizers were getting ready. To me, the interesting aspect of this haunted house was about the volunteers giving their time to help out at a community event, rather than actual people going through the attraction. My favorite pictures to look at recreationally are some kind of mixture of weird and funny, and when I saw Jim putting on this mask, I knew I'd like the frame once I got it on my computer. Especially at an event where there is a certain understanding about how things are supposed to go (i.e., people put on makeup and scare spectators), I enjoy making frames that surprise me and deviate from expectations.
PHOTO BY Gabe Souza
A jubilant Falmouth team celebrates winning the Little League state title at top right as Saco's Patrick Sawyer, bottom left, who struck out to end the game, buries his head in his hands. Falmouth prevailed, 13-10, in the hotly contested game that featured multiple scoring streaks from both teams. Falmouth went on to compete in the New England Regional in Bristol, Connecticut, but was knocked out by Cumberland American of Rhode Island. Friday, July 25, 2014.
A word from the photographer ··· I made this photo with an unmanned remote camera set up in rigging of the chain link fence that sits above the backstop over home plate at Hill Street Field in Biddeford. This was the Little League state championship, and I wanted to try and take a photo from a different angle. Originally I mounted the camera to try and get a play at home plate, but came away with a much different photo. I set up the camera with a wide-angle lens, and set it to fire off a frame every time my handheld camera fired using radio remotes. After a very back and forth game I knew there would be a lot of emotion at the end, and I came away with some nice photos from my handheld. But when I downloaded the memory card of the remote camera, I found this image. I think it really works because it clearly explains what is happening, but also conveys two very strong yet opposite emotions.