Best of 2015: They’re my neighbors

Portland was settled in 1633. I came to live here 366 years later. I grew up just 20 miles to the west. This is my home. It’s home to about 66,000 other souls, too. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing some of them this past year. I met young immigrants, struggling to stay, street performers, a man who dedicates his life to helping people who cannot repay him and kids learning to ring bells together, making a song. I met a non-traditional dance instructor, a man who adopted a bird and a boy trying to keep his shoes dry. They’re all my neighbors here in the Forest City.

08/13/15 -- Street singers Rosie O'Morrow and Brady Goodwin strum a tune on Exchange Street in Portland. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

08/13/15 — Street singers Rosie O’Morrow and Brady Goodwin strum a tune on Exchange Street in Portland. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

03/06/15 -- Growing up a dancer and figure skater, South Portland native Jonessa Ramos, 24, became a certified pole fitness instructor and opened 207 Pole Fitness in Maine in 2013. Ramos currently teaches six classes a week in Portland. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

03/06/15 — Growing up a dancer and figure skater, South Portland native Jonessa Ramos, 24, became a certified pole fitness instructor and opened 207 Pole Fitness in Maine in 2013. Ramos currently teaches six classes a week in Portland. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

09/30/15 -- A boy keeps his shoes and his laptop above the flood waters in the Bayside neighborhood as he makes his way across Somerset Street to Whole Foods in Portland. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

09/30/15 — A boy keeps his shoes and his laptop above the flood waters in the Bayside neighborhood as he makes his way across Somerset Street to Whole Foods in Portland. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

06/21/15 -- Christian Irutingabo, 18, prays in church on a Sunday in Portland. Fleeing violence in Burundi, Irutingabo and his sister arrived in the city last fall knowing no one. The General Assistance program has allowed them to survive and go to Deering High School. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

06/21/15 — Christian Irutingabo, 18, prays in church on a Sunday in Portland. Fleeing violence in Burundi, Irutingabo and his sister arrived in the city last fall knowing no one. The General Assistance program has allowed them to survive and go to Deering High School. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

06/20/15 -- Christian Irutingabo, 18, (left) is trained for his summer job as a lifeguard at the Portland YMCA by Hwanhee Park. Fleeing violence in Burundi, Irutingabo and his sister arrived in the city last fall knowing no one. The General Assistance program has allowed them to survive and go to Deering High School. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

06/20/15 — Christian Irutingabo, 18, (left) is trained for his summer job as a lifeguard at the Portland YMCA by Hwanhee Park. Fleeing violence in Burundi, Irutingabo and his sister arrived in the city last fall knowing no one. The General Assistance program has allowed them to survive and go to Deering High School. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

12/7/14 -- Granddi Bisimwa, 3, runs down the aisle during Mass at Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish in Portland. This was taken, technically, in 2014, but it didn't appear in the BDN till 2015. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

12/7/14 — Granddi Bisimwa, 3, runs down the aisle during Mass at Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish in Portland. This was taken, technically, in 2014, but it didn’t appear in the BDN till 2015. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Navy veteran Roger Goodoak (yellow jacket) and his son Kevin, 16, (in orange) hand out boots and hats to people outside the Oxford Street Shelter in Portland on a snowy night in February. Goodoak prowls city streets twice a day in search of homeless veterans to assist, but turns no one away who needs help. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Navy veteran Roger Goodoak (yellow jacket) and his son Kevin, 16, (in orange) hand out boots and hats to people outside the Oxford Street Shelter in Portland on a snowy night in February. Goodoak prowls city streets twice a day in search of homeless veterans to assist, but turns no one away who needs help. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

02/09/15 -- Warming up his van on a snowy winter night, Roger Goodoak gets ready to look for homeless veterans on the streets of Portland. He prowls the city twice a day in search of homeless vets to assist, but turns no one away who needs help. Roger lives right next door to me. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

02/09/15 — Warming up his van on a snowy winter night, Roger Goodoak gets ready to look for homeless veterans on the streets of Portland. He prowls the city twice a day in search of homeless vets to assist, but turns no one away who needs help. Roger lives right next door to me. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

PORTLAND, MAINE -- 02/13/15 -- Annika More, 13, (left) and Gabe Gladden, 13, laugh during a Lincoln Middle School handbell choir rehearsal in Portland. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

PORTLAND, MAINE — 02/13/15 — Annika More, 13, (left) and Gabe Gladden, 13, laugh during a Lincoln Middle School handbell choir rehearsal in Portland. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

12/7/14 -- Rocco DiDonato of Portland. plays the organ, looks after things at Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish in Portland. He worked at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for 33 years and has been at Sacred Heart for 14. I technically took this photo in 2014, but the story it went with didn't run till 2015. But, come to think of it, this photo didn't appear at all. It's really an outtake, but I like it a lot. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

12/7/14 — Rocco DiDonato of Portland. plays the organ, looks after things at Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish in Portland. He worked at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for 33 years and has been at Sacred Heart for 14. I technically took this photo in 2014, but the story it went with didn’t run till 2015. But, come to think of it, this photo didn’t appear at all. It’s really an outtake, but I like it a lot. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

06/11/15 -- Floyd Smith gives a rescued starling a drink of water in Congress Square. He's already tried releasing the bird he calls Vinnie, but the feathered ward flew right back to him, he said. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

06/11/15 — Floyd Smith gives a rescued starling a drink of water in Congress Square. He’s already tried releasing the bird he calls Vinnie, but the feathered ward flew right back to him, he said. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

04/22/15 -- Abbeth Russell juggles clubs in Portland's Monument Square while the sun shone between days of predicted rain. Russell was recently voted best street performer in a Portland Phoenix readers' poll. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

04/22/15 — Abbeth Russell juggles clubs in Portland’s Monument Square while the sun shone between days of predicted rain. Russell was recently voted best street performer in a Portland Phoenix readers’ poll. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.