Letters to the Editor
For this Down East subscriber who lives out of state and generally has to picture Maine's photogenic landscape through his own mental snapshots, your January "Best Maine Photography" issue reminded me what my eyes have been missing since leaving Maine some fourteen years ago. I am a photo enthusiast and rarely cross the Piscataqua River bridge headed northbound without a camera, so it was as if this edition of Down East was published exclusively for me.
I took it as the second compelling "Come Back to Maine!" sales pitch that I've encountered in the last year. The first was a commencement address delivered by Stephen King where he evoked a Maine with words that blend fittingly, I think, with the images gracing your issue. King said: "Stay in Maine . . . If you leave Maine, you'll miss it. It slips into your mind. It becomes part of your dreams and inhabits your heart. Five years after going, maybe only three, and you'll be either planning your first vacation back — they don't call it Vacationland for nothing — or scheming a way to get back for good."
So thank you both for the awakening. The time to return to Maine may be drawing near.
My compliments for your January article about the dangerous work captured in photographs by Lewis Wickes Hine. Having lived part-time in Maine for a number of years, I have no vivid recollection of the Eastport sardine canneries, but I do remember California canneries and the southern textile mills and coal mines. This dangerous work moved from the east to the south, and it has since been transferred to the Far East and seems to be pushing into other undeveloped countries.
Humanity, per se, has nothing to do with man's quest for the almighty dollar. My thanks to Down East for keeping atrocities like this in our forefront.
—Richard J. Udouj
Fort Smith, Arkansas
I read with special interest the "North by East" item in your January issue about the Maine State Museum's collection of nineteenth-century silhouettes. I was amused by the strictly historical past tense used in the piece: "[Brewer's] images remain today as a reminder of how people once saw each other in Maine."
I began cutting silhouettes at art shows in 1980 and am now up to several thousand annually, having had subjects from newborns to the oldest resident of a nursing home. People often ask me where my light source is and how I cut the silhouettes. My answer to the former is that an artist uses the eye rather than a cast shadow, and to the latter I respond, with very sharp scissors!
Kudos to you for the excellent portrayal of Chansonetta Stanley Emmons in your January "What's in a Picture?" feature. I only regret that your otherwise fine article neglected to mention the Stanley Museum in Kingfield, currently the location of the largest collection of photos of Ms. Emmons. These images will soon be under joint curatorship with the Maine Women Writers' Center at the University of New England.
Where in Maine?
Just when I was beginning to think that I would never figure out one of your "Where in Maine?" photographs, you put in a location from just around the corner from me. Your January image is Castle Island, in the middle of Long Pond and surrounded by the towns of Rome, Belgrade, and Mount Vernon. I grew up in Farmington and have lived in this area most of my life. A few years back, we bought a piece of land on Flying Pond in Mount Vernon and built a house that we moved into year-round a year and a half ago. I have driven across Castle Island many times. Now, living as close as we do, we drive across often to get most anywhere. It's fun to see how busy it is on a spring or summer afternoon and how deserted it is in the winter.
Mount Vernon, Maine
Those of us who have had the distinct pleasure of living in or visiting the Belgrade Lakes region can easily identify your January mystery photograph as Castle Island Camps on Long Pond. Having lived in Belgrade for several years as a young girl, the beauty of the lakes and ponds, both in winter and summer, is not easily forgotten. As a result, my family, extended family, and many a New Yorker have found their way to this very special place. Belgrade and its lakes are as close to heaven as life gets. Thanks for recognizing a location that is rich in memories for many Mainers and to those of us from away.
July is just how many months away?
—Meghan Groeger DeVito
Brewster, New York