I’m not sure if these are my best pictures from the year that was. That’s for viewers to decide. But, scrolling back through hundreds of images I published in 2016, these are the frames that made me stop for a moment and ponder.
I think they’re worth a second look, anyway.
For the last couple years, I’ve been wandering Portland on a regular basis conducting a sort of experiment on myself. I’ve been trying to find pictures using just the one lens that everyone my age started out with: a 50mm prime. It mimics your natural field of vision, they say. It’s not fancy. I tried to find five pictures worth looking at, calling the occasional blog posts 5@50.
The photo above came from one of those foot-powered jaunts around the peninsula carrying that lens. It shows one of the essential truths about Portland, especially these days: it’s always changing. In the blink of an eye, businesses come and go. I’ve lived here long enough now to recall sometimes a half-dozen different tenants in some storefronts.
This photo (above) doesn’t actually count as a look back. I shot the photo going on a month ago but the piece hasn’t been published yet. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s the story of a Syrian family reunited in Maine. They’d been apart for more than a year and I think you can see that on her face.
Portland’s not a particularly diverse city but it’s more diverse than anywhere else in Maine. Because of that, I end up learning a bit about the rest of the planet through people like Joyce Augustino and Lucy Otto, who are in the photo above. I love that, though the news itself can be sad.
On occasion, I leave Portland. I’ve known Officer Dan Devereaux (above) for years, going back to when I worked for The Times Record. He’s always been accessible to us in the press and he’s always ready to get out of the office and show us things, first hand. I appreciate that. He’s a unique mix of law-enforcer and conservationist. That’s pretty cool.
Its no secret that I love baseball. I like everything about shooting Sea Dogs games, the action, the drama and, sometimes, the faces in the stands. This photo of Griffin Boulier (above) looks like eternal summer to me.
I like this photo of a woman crossing Pearl Street (above) because how I feel about it changes every time I see it. One day, it will make me think about what a miserable walk she must have been having, waiting for the lights to change, keeping her head down in the swirling snow. On another day, I will think, wow, beauty is everywhere.
I think I made this photo (above) laying on my back in the August sun. Not bad work, if you can get it. You can always count on the Portland skate park for a good photo on a sunny, summer day.
I wish I’d gotten their names for this photo (above). The Eid al-Fitr servicehad just ended. Hundreds of folks we’re milling about, talking, laughing, dressed in their finest. It was a visual buffet of tasty images. I was shooting like mad. To stop and get names, like good journalism demands, you have to quit shooting. That means missing good pictures while writing. It’s a judgment call to know when you’ve got a good image worthy of a cutline. I chose to stop after a made a picture of a mother and child instead. I got their names and let these three young ladies get away. It was only later, while editing the images, I realized this was the better picture. Oh well.
Finding a pretty landscape picture in a city can be tricky. There are no mountains, not many trees and precious few winding streams. There are, however, many sunsets, like this one (above).
Nadir Alzoubi (above) and his son Omar, 2, are from Syria. Their family spent years on the run, fleeing violence and refugee camps before getting here. But, seriously, would you know that by looking at them? I don’t think so. That gives me hope.
That’s (above) not a classroom. It’s a doorway. The kid, and all of Portland’s kids, deserve better. Thats all I have to say about that.
Egide Mbabazi (above) is a great photographer. He has the skill, nerve and heart of a photojournalist. He also has a great sense of style. Hes genuinely interested in other people, too.
I try to get interested in a person before I even ask them if I can take a picture, he said. Thats how the friendship starts.
That’s why his pictures are so good.
Finally, these dogs (above) were cute. Sometimes that’s all you can say.