November 21, 2017
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Painting Bridges: Creator of Acadia art photo project reveals story behind the pictures

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BAR HARBOR — Come hear the story and see the stunning images behind Painting Bridges – an art photo project in Acadia National Park that took more than 150 people to complete – at the Jesup Memorial Library on Friday, Aug. 9 beginning at 7 p.m.
“It went beyond our expectations on a lot of different levels,” says Howie Montenko, who conceived the project in July 2012. His idea was to assemble a team of volunteers who, wielding flashlights, would “paint” a bridge with light while he created a long-exposure photograph. For the next nine months, a growing cohort of people journeyed at twilight to each bridge on Acadia’s carriage roads. By March of 2013, stunning photographs of all 16 historic Rockefeller bridges and both gatehouses had been completed.
“It was all about incorporating the community in the project,” says Mr. Montenko. “Generally speaking, when you do photography, it’s a solo thing – you just go out and take your picture. But here I incorporated everyone I could. There was a true sense of community underlying it.”
He remembers Saturday nights in the winter when it was 20 degrees outside but there were 30 people willing to hike to a bridge just to take a photograph.
“That’s kind of a neat thing,” says Mr. Montenko. “I didn’t realize at the time it was going to work out that way, but now everyone has this memory. In the end it’s something we could all be proud of.”
In addition to the cold weather, there were a lot of technical challenges to overcome. “You don’t just walk up to a bridge and take a shot and get a picture like that,” says Mr. Montenko.
To find out how they did it, and to see the stunning visuals, come to the Jesup Friday.
For more information, call Melinda Rice at 288-4245 or 801-8331, or e-mail