PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — For internationally known photographer Oscar Nelder, known professionally as Voscar The Maine Photographer, there is something especially powerful about a black and white photograph.
The Greenville native and longtime Presque Isle resident said during a recent interview that black and white photos sometimes can depict an event more powerfully than all of the colors of the rainbow, especially when the image is particularly stark or poignant.
That is why the photographer has decided to focus on black and white for his current project, a 2011 calendar featuring 12 black and white photographs, which he has titled “Vintage Voscar.” It is on sale in stores in parts of Aroostook County.
“I have tons of black and white photographs lying around,” said Voscar, who also spent 12 years as a writer and photographer for the Bangor Daily News. “A lot of them are nature scenes reflecting winter and the potato harvest and other things. I decided that a black and white calendar would be something I’d like to put together.”
Since Voscar is a staple at most County events and has had his work published in state, national and international magazines, he has “countless” photographs in his library. He said that he took a great deal of time poring over his black and white images to find the perfect 12 pictures for the 2011 calendar.
What he ended up with is a calendar that reflects all aspects of life in The County. There are shots of life in Linneus and Allagash, along with a photo of the winter sky as reflected over the tiny community of Westfield. A hunter is seen looking for prey in November, and a one-row potato digger is pictured in October to illustrate The County’s harvest heritage. The stark, barren landscape of The County in the dead of winter also is featured in the calendar.
“I really wanted to show people what life is really like here,” he explained. “I wanted to show all of it.”
This is not the first time he has created such a piece. Voscar said he put together a black and white calendar in 1973, and it proved to be popular with the public.
“People kept asking me over the years when I was going to do another one,” he said. “A lot of people have color calendars, but there aren’t too many black and white ones out there. So, they talked me into it.”
Voscar said it wasn’t too difficult to bypass color photographs this year.
“It is hard to explain how powerful black and white can be sometimes,” he said. “The winter sky in color doesn’t really say anything. But when you take a black and white image and manipulate it in the darkroom, it becomes really inviting. Black and white photos tell the story better, in some cases.”
Calendars sell for $12.99 and are available at stores throughout The County including York’s Book Store in Houlton; Goin’ Postal and Merchants on the Corner in Presque Isle; and Spring Break Sugarhouse and Gift Shop in Smyrna Mills. Calendars also are available by calling Voscar at 769-5911.