STOCKHOLM, Maine — Each year, Crown of Maine Productions freezes a bit of Aroostook County in time.
Owners Brenda and Alan Jepson comb through 6.672 square miles of the region to capture countless images that they later will consider for inclusion in their annual limited edition calendar, which depicts the landscapes, waterways, potato fields, animals and people of The County. The Stockholm-based company, which also produces commercials, training videos and promotional videos for a variety of clients, has adhered to those traditions again to produce the 2012 calendar, which is on sale at stores throughout the region and online.
“Producing a calendar really is a year-round pursuit,” Brenda Jepson, who provided photos for 11 of the 12 months of the calendar, said during a recent interview. “Every month will need a suitable photo, and so if you make calendars you are always on the lookout for a scene that will typify the month you are in. You also need to be thinking about the folks who would like your calendar – who are they, where do they live, what would they like to see?”
As in past years, this year’s calendar showcases Aroostook in all seasons. The year begins with a photo taken by Michael Gudreau featuring an old farm truck in Presque Isle socked in by snow and ice after a storm. The snowy landscape of New Sweden is highlighted in February, while March features Matt Gregg of Maple Meadow Farm in Mapleton with his workhorse, Pat, twitching out a log in the snow-covered woods.
The summer months take viewers to the banks of the St. John River and the shores of Madawaska Lake before October brings an image of a quaint street in Stockholm surrounded by fiery red, orange and yellow foliage. The year comes to an end at a snow-covered barn in Littleton.
Jepson said she and her husband try to balance the needs of locals who want to see a calendar that captures the landscapes, culture and history against the desire of those who have moved away to see images that remind them of home. They work to include scenes from the edge of southern Aroostook to the tip of the St. John Valley.
At the same time, Jepson said that she likes to put a bit of her own taste into the package.
“I love bright colors in my photos, but I rarely enhance the colors at all,” she said. “I think the natural colors we have in Aroostook are already vibrant enough, and I don’t want them to look overly processed. I also am very partial to water scenes and I like to include animals in our calendars – especially farm animals.”
The calendars have become so popular that they are being shipped across the U.S. and to nations such as Germany and Afghanistan. Jepson recently sent two calendars to a former Presque Isle resident who now lives in California. A member of the military deployed to Afghanistan keeps the calendar tacked up to remind her of The County and just bought the 2012 edition while home on leave.
While the calendars are a business venture for Crown of Maine Productions, Jepson said that the process also is a “labor of love.” She noted that competition for calendars is particularly fierce, especially since a number of businesses and organizations give them away for free. She said that she and the other artists who put out calendars centered on Aroostook County “all tend to know each other and really admire each other’s work.”
“We may be competitors, but we also are fellow artists and friends – perhaps it is our love of The County that we have in common,” said Jepson.
The limited-edition 2012 calendar is on sale at stores in The County and may be ordered online at www.crownofmaineproductions.com