Down East 2013 ©
For the photographs of the Frenchboro residents, please view Down East's online gallery, 'Paula Lunt: Faces of Frenchboro.' 
What’s not to like about tiny Frenchboro, a year-round village on Long Island? Although she didn’t travel to the island by ferry, which runs three times per week from Bar Harbor, Oprah Winfrey recently interviewed approximately 40 island residents using Skype, an internet phone service. (It should be noted 40 is the majority of Frenchboro residents this time of year.)
The segment is scheduled to air on the Oprah Winfrey Show today, and you can bet the entire town is watching.
When Down East photographed the Faces of Frenchboro in September 2008 we started with a question. What could you tell about a community from the faces of its people? Experiments work best under controlled circumstances, and there is no place more self-contained than a Maine island. Consider Long Island — better known as Frenchboro after its single village. Located due south of Mount Desert, this island is both small (just seven square miles in area) and remote (the ferry makes just three trips per week from Bass Harbor). What would you discover if you photographed every single one of Frenchboro’s handful of residents?
Fortunately, we had help with that one. Photographer Paula Jean Lunt married into Frenchboro. “I’m not sure what [on the mainland] you would compare Frenchboro to,” says Lunt, who lives in Tenants Harbor most of the year. “It’s the kind of place where if a lawn mower dies, it’s just left wherever it stopped, with the grass growing up through it. Everything is a chore — if you need groceries, for instance, you have to go to the mainland — so upkeep is kind of put on the back burner.” The photographer initially planned to take a formal portrait of each islander but soon found herself changing tactics. “I come from a portrait studio background, where heaven forbid a necklace clasp is showing,” she says. “But when I started shooting portraits I realized that this isn’t really who these people are.”
To know Megan Murphy, the buyer for the Lunt & Lunt Lobster Company, for instance, you really need to see her with lobsterboats. To appreciate what it means to summer here, study the blissful smiles of seasonal residents Donna and Gerd Hasal. To understand the fierceness of working at sea behold the wind-burned cheeks of Roman Rozenski.
Together, these pictures present a true community portrait. “When someone looks at these pictures, they’re going to feel like they’re on Frenchboro with these people,” Lunt says. “It’s like they’re inviting you into their space.”
We appreciate their hospitality.
See an online gallery of the Faces of Frenchboro here or purchase the September issue of Down East - The Magazine of Maine to see all Frenchboro residents.