Photographer Fred J. Field received an e-mail recently that gave him an indication of the impact made by his new book.
Diane Dubois, a librarian in Caribou, wrote to say she felt “compelled” to contact Field to thank him for including northern Maine in “Maine Places, Maine Faces,” a collection of Field’s photographs from all over the state.
“When I did the book I made a real strong effort to have pictures that represent the whole state,” Field said recently from his home in Cumberland. “That was cool, because that for me was affirmation that what I hoped to do, I actually did. I had a 33,000-square-mile state, so it took some effort and some driving to do that.”
There are about 170 photographs representing more than 60 cities, towns and smaller communities.
It likely was a lot of driving for Field, but his years on the staff of Maine newspapers and as a freelance photographer for publications all over New England have helped him familiarize himself with the entire state.
It’s the small, out-of-the-way places that most capture Field’s attention.
Places like Estcourt Station, a tiny Aroostook County community that literally sits on the border of Maine and Quebec. Field used one photo of a couple, Germaine Ouellet and Edmond Levesque, playing cards at their kichen table which sits directly on the international border. Ouellet is sitting on the Maine side, Levesque is on the Quebec side.
“It’s unique,” Field said of Estcourt Station. “It’s just a really cool place. There are 10 people living there and I think I’ve met eight of them. … I love discovering quirky little things about Maine that most people don’t know about.”
There are photos of big places and moments, such as an evening time exposure of downtown Bangor, and small places and moments, such as the New York man resting on a rock in the Moose River in Bradstreet Township. There’s a photo of 2004 Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott, and others of local business owners, lobstermen, potato farmers and blueberry rakers.
Some of the photos Field had taken before, others were new for the book. He had a chance to return to places like Smyrna, where he had shot a photograph of two Amish children walking to school for a Boston Globe story several years ago. Field said he tracked down their mother and gained permission to use the photograph in his book.
Eastern and northern Maine figure heavily in the book, from the cover photo of Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park to the picture of two boys from Jonesport on the inside jacket.
For Field, the goal of the book was to show Maine in its varied forms, and its varied traditions and people. Although not a native of the Pine Tree State — Field was born in Georgia, grew up in Massachusetts and went to school in New York — Field said he wants Mainers to get out and see the places and faces which have captured him so fully.
“I hope, when people look at this book, they have a better appreciation for this beautiful state and learn a few things,” Field said. “Maine is a gem and if you don’t get out of your own geographical area and explore it, you’re really missing out.”