Wildlife photographer named artist of the year for annual art show in Belfast

Lori Davis, who has been named Artist of the Year for this weekend's Arts in the Park in Belfast, is known for her up-close and personal wildlife portraits like this one of a cow and calf moose.
Photo courtesy of Lori Davis
Lori Davis, who has been named Artist of the Year for this weekend's Arts in the Park in Belfast, is known for her up-close and personal wildlife portraits like this one of a cow and calf moose.
Posted July 05, 2011, at 6:09 p.m.
Last modified July 06, 2011, at 7:10 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Lori Davis will do a lot for the perfect shot.

The Ellsworth-based photographer, who has been named this year’s Artist of the Year for Arts in the Park in Belfast, has lurked in clouds of black flies, staked out remote northern ponds and waited all day long for just the right moment with a moose.

All that waiting, and all those bites, have paid off, she said recently.

“A lot of people think you can just go out and get great shots, and sometimes you do. But the more impressive shots, the interactive images, they take a lot of time,” Davis said. “My best-selling shot is a cow and calf, nose to nose in a little pond. Images like that, that are that magical, are just few and far between.”

Her wildlife photography will be on display this coming weekend at the 16th annual waterfront art event, along with the works of nearly 90 other artists.

Chris Urick, chairperson of the Arts in the Park committee, said she is excited about this summer’s offerings and has been crossing her fingers for good weather. Last summer, there was a “monsoon” as the artists packed up on Sunday, but even that could not dampen the fun.

“It was a success despite the bad weather,” she said. “We always look forward to the weekend — and pray for good weather.”

There are more photographers, painters, fiber artists, glass artists, jewelery designers, potters and basket weavers, among others, than there have ever been before, she said. They come from all over Maine and from as far away as Florida and Georgia.

The event will be livened by food vendors and musicians, including the Belfast Bay Fiddlers, who will play on Saturday afternoon, and the Blue Hill Brass Quintet, who will play on Sunday.

The artist of the year is chosen to recognize excellence and also to show the variety of media on display at the show.

Davis said being selected by the Arts in the Park committee is a “huge compliment.”

“I find that pretty humbling, because there’s so many talented artists out there,” she said. “It’s one of the nicest shows I do.”

She is self-taught and has been working as a full-time self-employed photographer for four years, having moved to Maine six years ago from Connecticut.

“I find it very rewarding and satisfying,” she said of her work.

Davis, who photographs landscapes and other subjects as well, said she particularly enjoys her interactions with wildlife. She’ll research the animals she wants to photograph, find a likely location and then stake it out from sunrise to sunset with her 500 millimeter lens and Canon camera, day after day.

“Sometimes, I only see black flies,” she said.

But often, when she’s set up at a location, animals that began their day far away from her eventually lose their fear and become more curious because Davis has not been aggressive or noisy.

“To me, it’s so rewarding to have a wild animal trust me so much they approach me, even if just out of curiosity, and know I’m not going to harm them,” she said.

Some of those moments include a white-tail doe nuzzling the forehead of her fawn and a puffin coming in with a beak full of fish.

Davis also appreciates human curiosity about her photos.

“Every now and then you get somebody who looks at an image and just stares at it. It takes their breath away, or they just have to know the story,” she said. “That’s also really, really rewarding to me.”

Arts in the Park will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10, at Heritage Park on the Belfast waterfront. For information, visit www.artsintheparkbelfast.org.

For more information about Lori Davis, visit her website at www.loridavisphotography.com.

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